Fruits for the Week

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I am one of the many thousands of people who believe in Allah, recite His praises, avow His glory and majesty, and are strengthened by His bounty and support. I have come to know the Almighty Allah through the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace. I read the Qur’an and studied his biography; then I discovered my inner self harmonizing with his message. My heart and mind were refreshed by his call. Thus I became one of the vast multitudes who have accepted Allah as their Lord, Islam as their way of life, and Muhammad as their guide and prophet.

There were people who knew nothing about Allah at all. But Muhammad lighted the way for them, and led them through their own hearts to their true Master. Muhammad, upon him be peace, came and re-established the belief in absolute unity, refuting once and for all the supposition that Allah could have a son, or daughter, or a partner, or an opposite, or an analogue in majesty.

Allah (swt) said: “Or have they taken protectors apart from Him? Allah, He is the only Protector; He revived the dead, and He is capable of everything. No matter how you have differed on anything, the judgement is still with Allah. (Say therefore) Such is Allah, my Lord; on Him have I relied, and to Him do I return. Originator of heaven and earth, He has granted you spouses from among yourselves as well as pairs of livestock by which He multiplies you. There is nothing like Him! He is the Alert, the Observant. He holds the key to heaven and earth; He extends sustenance and measures it out to whom He wills. Surely He is Aware of everything.” (Al-Shura: 9-12)

No one, past or present, knew their Lord the way that Muhammad knew Allah. Indeed his knowledge sprang from shuhud or witnessing. The Muslim who is keen to emulate the example of the Prophet will be able to discern certain special characteristics of Muhammad’s knowledge, ma’rifah, in the penetrating and emotionally charged words he used when speaking to or about Allah.

Clearly there was nothing either doubtful or contrived about his utterance. Lacking within itself a particular metaphorical temperature, the force of human utterance can miscarry and be forgotten without ever having influenced anyone. But whoever reads or hears the words which Muhammad used when addressing his Lord will immediately sense a quickening of his pulse to the flow of those words, and corresponding rise in the intensity of his emotions. In the end he will have no alternative but to be humble and to submit to the Lord of all the worlds. I remembered on one occasion trying to follow the distances mentioned in a study of astronomy, distances so great that they raced beyond my ability even to imagine them. Indeed, I felt myself growing ever smaller until I looked down to the earth at my feet and thought of what lay hidden beneath its surface. I realized then that I was capable neither of comprehending nor even of perceiving anything. Have we any idea of the number of things there are in this world about which we know nothing at all? 

Then, as I was thinking these thoughts, I recalled how Allah has described Himself in the Qur’an: “The Merciful is established on the Throne: to Him belongs all that is in Heaven and Earth and all that is between them, and all that is beneath the surface. If you speak aloud (or not, it is all the same to Him), for surely He knows the concealed and what is even more hidden. Allah, there is no god but He. To Him belong the Glorious names.” (Ta Ha: 2-8)

The sublime radiance of the lote tree in the seventh heaven and the tiniest seed in the darkest recesses of the earth are as one in His knowledge, may His name be praised. I found myself so filled with awe for the Great Creator that I was at a lost to put it into words. But by His will I did discover the words to express what I felt. These were words used by the Prophet in his salah (prayer). In the hadith, Ali related: And when he assumed the ruku’ (the bowing position), he would say: “O my Lord, for You I have bowed down, and in You I have placed my faith, and to You I have committed myself. My ears, my eyes, my marrow, my bones, and my sinews have humbled themselves before You.” When he raised his head from the ruku’ position he would say: “May Allah listen to those who praise Him. Our Lord, may Your praises fill the heavens, and fill the earth, and fill everything between them, and fill whatever else remains to be filled after that.” 

The heart of Muhammad (saw) was constantly occupied with his Lord, immersed in the sense of His Majesty. Indeed, this profound awareness was the basis of his relationship with both God and men. Follow closely his thought in his du’a: “Our Lord, by Your knowledge of the unseen, and by Your power over your creation, grant me life so long as You know life to hold good for me, and grant me death when You know death to hold good for me.”

by Shaikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali

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