Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quran and Islamic Ethics

Abstract: Quran divides Peoples into different categories, like two of them Mentioned in the Verse, “OUR LORD, GIVE US GOOD IN THIS WORLD, AND GOOD IN THE HEREAFTER, AND SAFEGUARD US FROM THE PUNISHMENT OF THE FIRE.’ They will have a good share from what they have earned. Allah is swift at reckoning. ( Surat al-Baqara, 200-202). The two categories which have been mentioned in the verse 200 to 202 of Sura ul Baqra, are two groups of people who have two different views about the “world”. One group will attain just the world talents and other ones will attain both, world and hereafter talents. The one who has no share in next world is the people of this world and they are inferior to the people of the next world because People of Hereafter have share in this world as well as next world also. It is also mentioned in verse 145 of Surat ul Aali Imaran that if you desire reward in this world Allah will reward you in this world or else you can received you rewards Hereafter from Allah. وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تَمُوتَ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِ الله كِتَابًا مُّؤَجَّلاً وَمَن يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَمَن يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الآخِرَةِ نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَسَنَجْزِي الشَّاكِرِينَ {145} [3:145] And a soul will not die but with the permission of Allah the term is fixed; and whoever desires the reward of this world, I shall give him of it, and whoever desires the reward of the hereafter I shall give him of it, and I will reward the grateful. Introduction: "Our lord! Give us good in this world, and good in the hereafter, and safeguard us from the punishment of the fire." ( Surat al-Baqara, 200-202) Every human beings motto in life should be [2:3] Believe in the unseen, and keep up prayer, and spend out of what We have given them. Two very often used terms in the Quran are Unseen (Ghayb) and Visible or Seen (Shahud). Strong belief in both of these phenomenons should be the basis of life. Our faith is absolutely based on the Unseen, that is, what is not visible through the ‘physical eye’. Through the establishment of the Recommended Prayers, we have to develop a belief in the Unseen, because it is only visible through the ‘eye of the heart’ (Baseerah). We have to accept that whatever material benefits we have are not our possessions absolutely, but a trust from the Absolute Master, and thus have to be shared with other creations. This develops selflessness and humbleness. One, who accepts that though we have not seen Allah (SWT) through ‘physical eyes’, but have accepted His Presence because of the abundant signs (Ayats) visible around us, will have no difficulty in believing in the Prophet-hood, Messenger-ship and Imamate. He will accept the presence of the angels, who bring Scriptures for guidance. And he will acknowledge that all this exercise of revelation and guidance cannot be futile, but has a set purpose behind it, which is to guide man towards the eternal life of hereafter. [16:30] To the righteous (when) it is said, "What is it that your Lord has revealed?" they say, "All that is good." To those who do good, there is good in this world, and the Home of the Hereafter is even better, and excellent indeed is the Home of the righteous! They strongly believe that this life is for tests and trials, and a true believer will have to face such in life. [29:59] Those, who persevere in patience, and put their trust, in their Lord and Cherisher! Such people have faith that this life is linked to the hereafter; what one sows here will be reaped in afterlife. They believe that all the Divine Beneficence is for the True Believers, therefore they pray [2:201] Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire. But the ones with limited vision, who consider this life the ultimate all, strive only for the benefits of this existence. Their call is, [2:200] Our Lord! Give us in the world, and they shall have no resting place. They spend entire life working for material gains. They either have no time to bow down to their Lord and Master, or if they do, it is just a set of meaningless actions. They do not share their blessings with others, because their uncertainty makes them fear poverty. This weak faith is result of lack of far-sightedness. When man believes in the seen world (Shuhud) only, he confines his belief and thought process, because this world has limitations. It is time and space bound. About such people Quran says, [16:33] Allah was not unjust to them, but they were unjust to themselves. Man must never forget, [29:22] And you shall not escape in the earth nor in the heaven, and you have neither a protector nor a helper besides Allah. And also, [29:6] And whoever strives hard, he strives only for his own soul; most surely Allah is Self-sufficient, above (need of) the worlds. [2:130] And who forsakes the faith of Ibrahim, but he, who makes himself a fool, and most certainly, We chose him in this world, and in the hereafter, he is most surely among the righteous. Prophet Abraham (AS) is the Father of all Divine Faiths being practiced in the world today. Even though Judaism and Christianity are not in their original form now, but according to Islamic Belief they are considered People of the Book! Thus Abraham (AS) has been presented as role model for entire humanity, and he is a Muslim (Submissive) without doubt! Since Prophet Adam (AS), belief in Unity (Tawhid), Messenger-ship and Prophet-hood (Risalat and Nabuwat) and hereafter (Akhirah) have been the fundamentals of faith. If one is certain of One Allah (SWT) with His entire attributes, then he will believe that all messages originate from Him, whichever Prophet (AS) might spread them on the earth, and one will be sure that this entire chain of messages and moral training has some purpose, and that is its application in life, and one day man will reap the fruit of these practices in the afterlife. Divine Message is not an ideology; it is the Code of Life, the system which the Creator has created for His creation. The only safeguard against transgression is absolute certainty about this concept. One has to believe that Rab (Lord, Sustainer, Giver, Nurturer, Provider, Absolute Source) is One and Only Lord, and He is Adil (Just), He will sustain and bring up entire creation without any discrimination. Man only has to strive and work honestly, according to Divine Guidelines, and he will receive his share from the Divine Bounties. The problem arises when one starts believing that whatever one is receiving is one’s own, and only because of one’s efforts! It makes him forget that blessings are coming from Lord and Master, and are a form of test. That is why Islam has made Zakat (Poor dues) and Khums (One fifth of savings) compulsory, because they develop habit of sharing and discourages possessiveness and materialism. Besides this, optional donations and helping needy and indigent is highly praised, and is considered a guarantee against any misfortune. In other words man has to consider every blessing a gift from Allah (SWT), and be sure that the treasures which provided him with this, are abounding with much more, and will give him more, if he shares it with others. Lack of this surety makes one hoard. He even cheats when it comes to paying obligatory poor due. He spends entire life fearing poverty. It is a cycle. Allah (SWT) has made a system to keep riches in circulation. Through payment of mandatory dues money keeps circulating amongst different people. The entire society benefits from it. It helps eradicate class distinction. But disbelievers of the system, those who lack faith in Divinity, consider this world the end all. They live for present life only. Therefore, they spend entire time struggling to increase their bank balance. For them success is measured in material gains, because according to them true success is what is apparent in present existence. Materialism becomes their lord and master! So Allah (SWT) too provides them well in this world, in return for the few good deeds that they have performed in life! [11:15] whoever desires this world's life and its finery, We will pay them in full their deeds therein, and they shall not be made to suffer loss in respect of them. This is a reminder that what one receives in this world is coming from Allah (SWT); We will pay them in full! Strength of belief in this fact will help one strive for hereafter. It will bring balance in life. Imam Ali (AS) said, “Zuhd (Sanctimony) is not that you are not master of anything, true Zuhd (Sanctimony) is that nothing should be your master!” Present Life We see that the Qur’an asserts that the present life is but a minute part of the totality of existence. For God is able to transform His creations from one state of being to another (see Qur’an 41:39, 36:77–79). The belief in the life hereafter is grounded in the Quranic teaching that the world is a moral order, wherein every action of man, however insignificant, is accountable and must meet its reward or punishment (50:16–18, 36:12, 17:13–14, 13:9–11, 82:9–12). [I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.] (Adh-Dhariyat 56:51) This verse summarizes to us the pure truth about creation. In this short transient life we are in a continuous state of worshipping God. All acts must be done with the intention of raising the word of God, giving power to His religion, and granting true happiness to His servants in both this life and the life to come. The following excerpt from Resurrection, Judgment, and the Hereafter by Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari provides a fairly detailed explanation of the harms that are available to humanity in this life. It also shows some ways we can benefit in this life. The benefits are mainly a healthy balance between hope in Allah's mercy and forgiveness and Fear of His wrath and punishment. The harmful aspects of this life, according to this chapter, is relying solely on Allah's merciful attributes and therefore committing all kinds of terrible acts simply because one is too arrogant to fear Allah's punishment. The exemplars of religion have always emphasized the fear of God goes back in fact to men's fear of their own deeds. Not only is this fear not harmful; it is extremely beneficial in that it keeps man's deeds in balance and under control. Fear of the unpleasant consequences of sin induces caution in man and helps him to rein in his rebellious instincts; it makes him a disciplined and orderly being. If man were only to place his hope in the infinite mercy of God, with an unbridled optimism not balanced with fear, the result would be the transgression of all limits. The one whose heart is filled only with the hope of God's mercy will feel absolutely free to engage in any foolish and corrupt act he wishes; he will still hope for God's mercy and regard himself as worthy of God's forgiveness despite all the abominations he has committed. Such a person will never think of obeying God nor will he aspire to purity; his entire conduct will be suffused with corruption, but he will entertain hopes of a bright future. Since, then, the absence of fear of God leads to corruption and sinful behavior, religion prescribes that man should alternate between hope and fear: while hoping for God's infinite mercy and generosity, man should reflect carefully and soberly on the consequences of his deeds, fearing their possible outcome... ...The Commander of the Faithful, upon whom be peace, said: "Do not consider even the purest member of this community as safe from divine punishment, for the Qur'an tells us, `It is only those who stand to lose that feel safe against God's punishment.' Likewise, do not cause the most evil of men to despair of God's mercy and favor, for God says, `Only the unbelieving people despair of God's mercy ...'" (Kalimat-i Qisar, no. 227 Once Imam Musa b. Ja'far, upon whom be peace, said to Hisham b. Hakam: "No one possesses true faith unless he both fears and hopes. The fear and hope of such a one is grounded in knowledge and awareness." (Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, Vol. II, p. 290)2. World in view of Infallibles: The Holy Prophet [s] said that the disciples of Jesus [a] asked him with whom they should make friends, and he [a] replied: "With one whose presence reminds you of God, his speech increases your knowledge and his deed inspires you (to work righteously for) the next world."Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 1, p. 203 Amir ul Mu'mineen Ali [a] said: "No business should hinder you from being busy doing good for the coming world, hence, surely, the length of opportunity is a very short time."Ghurar-ul-Hikam, p. 335 Amir ul Mu'mineen Ali [a] said: "He who sells his next life for his present life in this world, loses both of them."Ghurar-ul-Hikam, p. 274. Monotheism in Worship, Fear from the Resurrection Day Imam Hassan Askari ( PBUH ) said: “There is no calamity which does not involve a blessing from Allah.” The issues of “Monotheism in Worship” in its best manner, and the “Fear from the Resurrection Day” are of the significant characteristics of the family of infallibility and purification, the Ahl al-Bait. One of the companions of Imam Hassan Askari (PBUH) narrates: ‘On one of the days during Imam Hassan Askari’s (PBUH) childhood, I noticed he was standing with children of his same age. The other children were busy playing, while the Imam ( PBUH ) was standing in a corner crying (this was the first time I had seen him). I thought that perhaps the reason for his sadness was because he did not have toys like the other children. I approached him, expressed my kindness, and said: “… I’ll buy you some good toys.” He looked at me with an angry face and said: “We are not created to play!” I was shocked by his words, such immense knowledge and such remarkable logic! … So I asked him: “What are we created for?” He said: “[We are created] to know [Allah ( SWT )] and worship [Him]” Amazed by his replies, I asked: “Where have you got that answer from?” He said: Allah ( SWT ) has said: " Did you then think that We had created you in vain, and that you would not be brought back to Us? I realized that his logic was based on wisdom and the Holy Quran. I was ashamed of what I had thought. Then, I said: “Why are you crying, while you are still a child and have not committed any sins?” His cry intensified, and he said:” “Whenever my mother wants to make fire with big pieces of firewood, she first puts some small pieces of wood on fire, and then uses them to flame the big pieces of wood. My worries are from being of those small pieces of firewood for the hellfire…” There, I understood that he is extremely distant from me. I departed from him while astonished. Later on, I came to know who that child was and to which family he belonged…” Imam Baqir (pbuh): Earning livelihood is a worship. The town of Medina was burning under the exhalation of the heat of the sun of Hejaz (Hijaz) and was thawing like the benumbed sleepers under the fire of the sky. The branches of the palms were not oscillating under any breeze and the trees were as weary men sleep-strucken while standing. The camels were sheltering themselves under some shade of the palm branches, exceeding the wall of gardens and were ruminating silently and motionlessly. In the town every being was crawling under a shade and nobody was seen in the palm gardens of the round about, except a rather nice man having a slightly corpulent body which was leaning on the shoulders of a young man, (perhaps his son), who was visiting his farm. He was perspiring from the heat. His eyes, which were half-closed because of the violent shining of the sun, were so attractive that they recalled the looking of the most beautiful gazelle. His nice feature was adorned with a pretty beard and mustache. But this handsome face was turning to purple under the sun and the drops of perspiration were pouring from his cheeks, like the drops of dew from a wild tulip. They were running from his face and dropping into his chest. At this moment another man was seen on the plain, which was advancing towards this point. His name was Mohummad Ibn Monkader. He was supposing himself to be a pious and anchorite, a hermit man far from Mormonism. He had a bowed down stature and a weary face. When he reached the corpulent body man who was perspiring under the glow of the sun, busy to supervise his farm, he wondered and said to himself: "See how the greed of the mammon blinds the eyes of wisdom. This man is melting like a candle under the sun. And he is not ready to stop to hurt himself for his avidity. It is better to go to him and to advise him. Perhaps he will be guided." When he came near, he knew the man and said: "Oh it's strange. This man is Mohummad Ibn Ali, Imam Baqir, and the leader of the Shia faith. Why this man is trying for worldly wealth?" He goes then nearer, stood and greeted the Imam Baqir (pbuh). Imam Baqir (pbuh), was busy with his work and was perspiring and panting. Imam Baqir (pbuh) replied to his greeting. The man halted a while and said: "Is it worthy for a great and pious man like you to come out of home in this hour of the day, to seek worldly wealth? And with this rather corpulent body you have to bear, of course, more pain." "If in this moment, (God forbids), your death comes, in what situation are you going to meet Alah (SWT)? No, it is not worthy for you, with this heat and this natural disposition, to be so concerned with mammon." Imam Baqir (pbuh) cleaned the perspiration off his forehead with the back of his hand, stopped the work and looked at him. "If my death in this very moment", said Imam Baqir (pbuh), "I will meet Allah (SWT) in a state of worship." You think that the worship is only to pray and to do religious ceremonies? I am living in the world and I have to earn my livelihood. If I do not work I will need the help of some men like you and I have to stretch my hands for begging. I should fear the coming of my death when I am sinning and disobeying my Allah (SWT). At this moment, when I am, working under the order of Allah (SWT), I am trying not to be a weight on the shoulders of my fellow beings. Mohummad Ibn Monkader, struck with shame, said nothing and continued his way, while he was humming with himself: "Wonderful. I was thinking that I can advise him, but this was myself to earn an advice." source: Goal of Life: We cannot assume a goal for God, and believe that He wishes to attain something by His acts. Such a supposition implies a shortcoming in the doer of an action, which may be true of creatures with a potential power, but not of the Creator; since it would mean that He intends to move towards perfection and secure something which He does not have. But sometimes by the goal of creation is meant the goal of the created action, not of the Creator. This would involve the movement of the created towards perfection, not the perfection of the Creator Himself. In this sense, if we think that the nature of creation has always been movement towards perfection, then there is a motive in creation... Sometimes it is said that the goal of human life is happiness in the sense that during the time one is alive, he should live comfortably and happily enjoy the blessings of Creation and nature, suffer less pain from either natural causes or from fellow- creatures. This is considered happiness. This means, then, getting maximum pleasure and minimum pain ... Thus the goal and ideal that Islam offers is God, and everything else is preparatory to it, and not of an independent and fundamental importance. In the verses where the Qur'an mentions perfect human beings, or speaks on their behalf, it says they have truly understood the goal of life and endeavored to attain it. It says for Ibrahim ("I have devoted my worship to Him who has created heaven and earth, and I am not a pagan." [The Qur'an, 6:80] This Sura, too, says: "My prayer, worship, life and death are for God, who is the Lord of the Universe . " [The Qur'an, 6:163]... Thus, in Islam everything revolves round the axis of God, including the goal in the mission of prophets and individuals' goal of life... Islam accepts worldly happiness within the practical constraints of monotheism, that is, to be wholly devoted to God. According to the Qur'an, man gains his happiness only from God, and it is He who fills all the gaps in his life, and satisfies him. The Qur'an says: "Those who have faith and their hearts are tranquil in thinking of God, know that all hearts find peace by remembering God ."[The Qur'an: 13:28 ] Only God brings repose to the anxious and inquisitive hearts of man. Other things are subsidiary and preliminary matters, not the final stage. The same is said of worship: "To remember God, pray." [The Qur'an: 20:14] Also, the following verse says: "Prayer checks wickedness and injustice, and remembering God is more important."[The Qur'an: 29:45] Islam thinks of man as created to worship God, to seek proximity to Him and to know Him, all of which give him power. But knowledge and power are not the ultimate goal, nor is self-purification.3 To say the same thing in just a few words, 'the real benefit of this life is worshipping Allah and neglecting Him is the most harmful to ourselves'. Describing true believers, Allah, the Exalted, has this to say, “Their sides draw away from (their) beds, they call upon their Lord in fear and in hope, and they spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them. So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes; a reward for what they did”. (32/16,17). Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq said, “Have hope in Allah, the kind of hope that shall help you refrain from trespassing upon His bounds, and fear Allah, in such a manner that shall not make you give up on His mercy”. We are all leaving this world, sooner or later. This is whether we get what we want from it or not. Then, it is very important to leave it with our real mission accomplished! Our mission in relation to worshipping includes religious duties of praying, fasting, helping others, seeking knowledge in both religious and worldly affairs, working hard to construct the universe with industries and agriculture, getting married and raising children. Prophet Jesus (pbuh) has said: No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (Matthew 6:24-25, New International Version ) Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24, New International Version ) These verses show how Christianity as taught by Jesus was antithetical to material progress. Anyway unfortunately, this unbalanced relationship between this life and the life to come gave a heavier weight to the latter at the expense of the first in a way which not only neglected the basic human needs, but also worked to look down upon them as irrelevant and malicious desires. As a result of this disrespect for the demands of this transient phase of human life, a strong reaction of secularism rose in the 18th century, calling for separating God from human life, on the pretext that religion does not satisfy the vital human needs for constructing their lives on basis of science and free thinking. This reversed unbalance between the two dimensions of the human existence; namely the eternal and the transient, opened a gate of evils on the human race like that of imperialism, moral degeneration, and economic exploitation, which prevailed the world and failed in achieving this hedonistic end that people were after. Islam, however, strikes a balance between material progress and spiritual progress, as is obvious from this prayer from the Quran: [Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire!] (Al-Baqarah 2:201) فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُم مَّنَاسِكَكُمْ فَاذْكُرُواْ اللّهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ آبَاءكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًا فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلاَقٍ [2:200] And when ye have completed your devotions, then remember Allah as ye remember your fathers or with a more lively remembrance. But of mankind is he who saith: "Our Lord! Give unto us in the world," and he hath no portion in the Hereafter. وِمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ {201} [2:201] And of them (also) is he who saith: "Our Lord! Give unto us in the world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and guard us from the doom of Fire." أُولَـئِكَ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا كَسَبُواْ وَاللّهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ [2:202] For them there is in store a goodly portion out of that which they have earned. Allah is swift at reckoning. In verse 200 ALLAH (swt) informing us that what should we do after completion of our devotions. He said remember your Lord at least as much you remember your ancestor but ALLAH (swt) deserve remembrance much better then you ancestors. But it is mankind who always goes for the apparent or visible thing, most of them don’t exactly believe in unseen as it should be. Whenever they do something in ALLAH’s way they ask their reward. Suppose if performing their prayer they ask something from ALLAH, likewise if they perform Hajj we ask something or the other from ALLAH (I am not saying that what they are is wrong). Here we can divide them into two groups, one of them are those who are always behind worldly things like wealth, children, name, fame etc. Second group of people are those that they consider these things have temporary pleasure that’s why they forsake them better one the next world that is hereafter. But there is one more group of people they consider that these things have no pleasure at all, they never worship creator for the created being. They ask ALLAH for ALLAH. They neither worship for this world nor for hereafter they worship ALLAH (swt) because He deserve to be worshiped and they are called Urafa. The first group is better than those people who does not pray to ALLAH, the second group is better than the first because they abandon worldly pleasure for life after death and the third group is better than previous groups because they worship the Lord of the world because he deserve to be worshiped. There is a tradition of Imam Ali (pbuh) in it he has taught us that:….. There are people who worship Allah to gain His Favors, this is the worship of traders; while there are some who worship Him to keep themselves free from His Wrath, this is the worship of slaves; a few who obey Him out of their sense of gratitude and obligations, this is the worship of free and noble men. Even if Allah had not warned of chastisement on those disobedient to Him, it would be obligatory by way of gratefulness for His favors that He should not be disobeyed. (O Allah!) I did not worship You for the fear of chastisement or for the desire towards heaven; rather, I worshiped You because I found You worthy of being worshipped. (Selected from A contemplation Through Nahj al-Balaghah, by Murtadha Mutahhari) Anyway everything created by Allah is for good. It is the Nafs of the human against which he should be very very careful. Because anything which we do good in this world for hereafter, could be ruined by slightest of error. I would like to quote an example from saying of Hazrat Abu Abd Allah (PBUH) as below; "The seekers of (sacred) knowledge are of three kinds, so recognize them by their specific qualities and characteristics. One kind of them seeks it for the sake of ignorance and dispute. Another kind seeks it for the sake of domination and deceit. Yet another kind seeks it for the sake of (improving) understanding and intellect. "The one who seeks it for ignorance and dispute's sake is injurious and quarrelsome. He contests opinions in the gatherings of men, speaking of knowledge and describing forbearance. He puts on the garb of humility, though he is devoid of piety. As a result God crushes his nose and severs his waist. "The one who seeks knowledge for domination and deception is an imposter and a sycophant. He is domineering with those who are his likes but is humble in front of the rich, whose sweetmeats he ingests while he demolishes his own faith. As a result God blinds his vision and wipes out his traces from the legacy of the learned. "As to him who seeks knowledge for the sake of understanding and intellection, he is grief-stricken and awake at nights. Having tied his cap with the loose end of his turban, he stands up in the dark of nights. He acts and is in trepidation. A caller overawed, engaged in his work, and acquainted with the people of his times, he is apprehensive of his most trusted brother. As a result of it God strengthens his supports and grants him amnesty on the Day of Resurrection." If we carefully look at the explanation in the hadith, there is fine line between good deed being good for hereafter and being worthless for hereafter. We all seek knowledge but it is the intention (niyyah) with which a deed is done is of prime importance.It is the niyyah (intention) which makes people fall in different groups with respect to 1) Worldly life and 2) Hereafter. As said in reply by our respectful teacher these two groups of people are further subdivided into further categories (QOUTE: worship for fear, worship for favor, worship for worthy of worship. In essence we should perform all deeds with choosing right intention and be very aware of Shaitan and Nafs as both are misleading without divine (from Allah) power and strength. Abu al-Hasan al Rida, may peace be upon him, said, `God has said, "O son of Adam, it is with My will that you are such a being that you will for yourself whatever you will, and it is with My power that you carry out the duties I have prescribed for you, and it is with My bounty that you found the strength to disobey Me. I made you hearing, seeing, and strong. Whatever good visits you is from God, and whatever evil strikes you is from your own self. That, because I have a greater right to your virtues than yourself, and you are worthier of your vices than Me. And hence I am not asked concerning what I do and they are asked (21:23 Obviously we can only do that if we always prefer hereafter over worldly life as stated by Imam Al Sadiq (PBUH) "One who passes his evenings and mornings in such a way that the world be his biggest concern, God ordains poverty between his two eyes and causes his affairs to become disjointed and dissipated, while he does not attain anything except what has been apportioned for him. And as for one who passes his evenings and mornings while his biggest concern and goal be the Hereafter, God puts contentment to his heart and gives a wholeness and unity to his affairs. The role of knowledge in Goal of life: The tradition of Hazrat Abu Abd Allah (pbuh) says: …. who seeks knowledge for the sake of understanding and intellection, he is grief-stricken and awake at nights… God strengthens his supports and grants him amnesty on the Day of Resurrection." It is a prayer that Allah s.w.t. has taught His prophet (PBUH&HF)” Say, O Lord ! Increase my knowledge! Knowledge is really an essential way to understand the nature of our enemies and how to combat them. The most important enemies in all human life are Nafsul_Amarah and Satan which invite us for preferring worldly life instead of hereafter. Allah swears by the nafs [here translated "soul" but better understood as "self"] saying [By the soul [nafs] and He Who proportioned it, and inspired it its wickedness and its righteousness; he has succeeded who purifies it, and he has failed who instills it (with corruption)]. (Ash-Shams: 7-9). Allah swears by the nafs, and this is an indication of the serious role that the nafs plays in the life of human. According to the verses, Allah has created the nafs and inspired it with what is right and what is wrong. This means that every nafs could know what is right and what is wrong. Every nafs could drive and lead man to the truth if it is good and purified. We are all exposed to tests from Allah that vary in their intensity and vary in the way each one of us reacts towards them. It is a continuous struggle for Allah has destined man to fight, both Satan and the desires of oneself (as Nafsul- Amarah). Which of Satan and the desires of oneself have more important roles in deviation him/her of straight path? And /Or it is not a comparable subject? Answer: [29:69] And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good. I feel the above verse clearly answers the question. Human being is free to choose his path. Every human is born with Rasool-e-Batine (Innate Messenger), his conscience. Similarly he has the ego (Nafs), which if left unharnessed can become a tool in the hands of Satan. So everyone has the choice to either give in to his whims and wishes, his desires, or follow the guidance of conscience, which urges man towards the Right Path. Thus man has been commanded to recite at least ten times a day [1:6] Keep us on the right path, because this issue is ever present, and need to be addressed constantly! How could people be successful in Allah’s tests? Answer: The only way to be successful in Allah (SWT)’s tests is to live according to the commands of chapter Al-Asr (Epoch). [103:1-3] I swear by the time, Most surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience. We should never forget that time too is a trust (Amanat). We have to answer for every passing second of our life. The passage of time is an irreversible loss. Thus, only surety of success in life is to base our existence on the command given in the verse 3. It covers entire life of every human being! Also, the people could be successful in Allah’s tests by: 1. Knowing from the outset that “He will test human in various ways until the end of their lives” is a law of Allah and believing in that law is one of the most important pieces of information that can permit a believer to overcome that test. 2. Not doing this great error by this image that we do everything ourselves. 3. Trusting in Allah and calming in the face of difficulties. 4. For truly with hardship comes ease; truly with hardship comes ease . So when you have finished, work on, and make your Lord your goal! (Surat al-Inshirah, 5 5. Therefore Allah makes difficulties easier for those who truly believe. 6. This secret was revealed in the Qur’an that: But as for him who is stingy and self-satisfied, and denies the Good, We will pave his way to Difficulty. (Surat al-Layl, 8-10) 7. Knowing that the strength draws from Allah in the face of all difficulties and that all doors will be opened for a person when he submits to Allah is the only solution that can provide peace, comfort, happiness and blessings in this world and the Hereafter. Conclusions: Health, wealth, children, and a good spouse are recognized in Islam as life's best joys, the Qur'an also shows us deeper dimensions to our existence, within the context of an eternal — rather than a fleeting — life. It is our right to enjoy the pleasures and possessions of life within the boundaries of Allah's system, but without losing focus of the ultimate happiness in an eternal life. Pleasing Allah is the ultimate goal for us — Muslims. This is done by performing prescribed rituals as well as by obeying His rules in every aspect of our lives. So even smiling is considered charity (i.e. a form of worship) if done in respect to Allah's commands to be kind to others, so is helping the needy, being kind to animals, respecting parents, educating others, etc. We are even given insight that perhaps distress would come out of what we assumed brought people joy. Consequently, wealth and children are not just unconditional privileges to enjoy; they are trials that determine our final destination: And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial, and that it is Allah with whom lies your highest reward. (Al-Anfal 8:28) Let's always remember Allah's infinite wisdom: ”It may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good” (Al-Nisaa' 4:19) We all have a fair share of joy and trial. We are all tested and we will all be questioned, whether we were gifted or deprived. Our goal ought to be ending up on the winning side, Allah's side, knowing that His generous reward is undoubtedly beyond our expectations. O' Allah; guide us all to right intention for good deed. for the sake of love to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his noble Progeny. Ameen!


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