by Aqil Abdul Baseer
Imagine yourself driving along the road merely truing to get from point "A" to point "B": You notice, with no more than a cursory glance, the usual billboard advertisements offering you numerous goods or services in exchange for your well earned capital. Unmoved by the many "meet or beat" pricing slogans or the "no interest or payments until next year" marketing schemes, you continue to drive on. There is no large print offering you something free, until you read the fine print and notice that there is a catch. This one offers you much more than you ever dreamed or imagined. You say to yourself, "Only a fool would refuse such a deal." You then decide learn more; in big, bold letters, the sign reads in part:
"O you who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a crevice chastisement?" (Holy Quran 61:10)
Dear Believers, although imagery is used to introduce our topic, the offer is real. Allah praises and glorified is He, proposes a "business deal," of sorts, to the believers. Most, if not all of us, have engaged in a business transaction of one kind or another at some point in our lives. It may have been as simple as trading baseball cards, buying some milk from a store, to negotiating a car deal, yet and still these are all forms of "business deal".
For many of us the impetus behind most of our "business transactions" is to make a profit. We desire to get more for our money. Unless we're "impulse buying" we will shop around for the best deal or some of us go after bargains with such a zeal, that we are labeled as "bargain hunters". Just what is a "bargain"? A bargain is commonly understood as an advantageous purchase. Webster's 10th Edition Collegiate Dictionary defines the word bargain as an agreement between parties settling what each gives or receives in transaction between them or what course of action or policy each pursues in respect to the other. (Emphasis mine)
But what if one of the parties seeks to make no profit whatsoever. He only wills to give the other patty the "better end of the stick"?
This is the case with Allah. No matter what He gives or receives neither increases decrease what he has. In a Hadith Qudsi (Sacred Hadith) Allah says:
"â€¦O My servants, you can not seek to harm Me, and you can not seek to benefit Me. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you, to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My Kingdom in anything. O my servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you that would not decrease My Kingdom in anything. O my servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you, to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested. That would not decrease what I have, any more than a needle decrease the sea if put into it."
So the benefit is entirely ours. As mentioned above, Allah says:
"O you who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous chastisement?"
He says to the believers; "Hal adullukum alaa tijaaratinâ€¦" He puts it in the form of a question. He gives the individual believer the choice whether or not to choose to be led to the bargain - as with all choice.
As with all things in the lives of men, Allah does not compel us to do anything. So He asks the believer, Shall I "adullukum," lead you, guide you, or point out to you a "tunjeekun," save you, rescue you and deliver you. Deliver us from what? "Adhaabin aleem." The Arabic word "aleem" means excruciating, painful, grievous, and sad. The Arabic words "adhaabin" means: pain, torment, suffering, agony, torture, punishment, etc. Allah implies that acceptance and fulfillment of this bargain will save us from an excruciating punishment. This is no ordinary deal.
So here we have it. Allah is proposing to us, a transaction that will prove to be so beneficial for us that it will delivers from the pain and suffering of the Hellfire. As with anyone faced with a deal that seems too good to be true, we want to know, "Where's the catch?"
What must we do? Allah says that there are essentially two basic things that we must do in order to reap the full measure of this deal. Allah says:
"That you believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that you strive (you utmost) in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your persons."
Here Allah says: "tu'minuna billahi wa rasoolihi." the Arabic word "tu'minuna" is derived from the word "amuna" which means: he was faithful, reliable, and trustworthy. In the above context it means to place our complete faith, reliance, and trust in the ability, strength, and truth of Allah. The belief in Allah is to believe that strength, and truth of Allah. The belief in Allah is to believe the He is one, having no partners. This is known in Al-Islam as "Tawheed". "Tawheed" is the most important aspect of all the beliefs in Al-Islam. We must purify our hearts of any and all other "gods" or objects of worship. Once we have done this, faith in Allah can take root and blossom in our very souls.
Knowledge of Allah and belief in Him is the first and most important aspect in the edification of Al-Islam. To establish and strengthen our faith in Allah we must learn and study His Attributes. We must come to know Him as He describes Himself. We cannot truly know Allah without becoming acquainted with His attributes. We must place complete faith is His attributes. When we come to know that He is all-seeing, all-hearing, all-knowing, and all-powerful, we must place full confidence in the fact that this is true. We must not doubt. Believing in Allah knows that all manners of worship and service are to be directed to Him and Him alone.
Allah says, in this verse, that belief does not stop there. After saying: "tu'minuna billahi," He says: "warasoolihi." That we must also believe in His Messenger (PBUH). Notice that Allah said that believe in Allah and his messenger that means we must believe in Allah and his messenger together not separately. To deny one is to deny the other. This is not to say that Prophet (PBUH) has equal rank or status with Allah, no, it is merely suggesting that belief in Prophet Muhammad is so essential that disbelief in prophet, disbelief in Allah's veracity, and also His Book, the Holy Quran. It is through His Holy Book that Allah tells us to believe in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Disbelief as well as obedience in the Prophet (PBUH) amounts to rejecting faith. Allah says:
"But know by thy lord they can have no Faith until they make thee judge in all disputes between them. And find in their souls no resistance against thy decision, and accept them with the fullest conviction." (Holy Quran 4:65)
"O you who believe! Believe in Allah and his messenger and the scripture, which he has sent to His messenger, and the scripture which He sent down to those before (him). And whosoever disbelieves in Allah, His angles, His books, His messengers, and the Day of Judgment, then indeed he has strayed far away." (Holy Quran 4:136)
"O mankind! The messenger hath come to you in truth from Allah: So believe in him, it is best for you. But if you disbelieve, then certainly to Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth: and Allah is all-knowing, all-wise. (Holy Quran 4:170)
"It is not fitting for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His messenger, to have any option about their decision. If anyone disobeys Allah and His messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path." (Holy Quran 33:36)
These verses clearly show that to believe in the prophet (PBUH) is integral to believe in Allah. When we state our "Shahada" (declaration of faith), we say: "I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and Mohammad is the messenger of Allah." It is imperative that we include the prophet also. This assertion is important for two reasons:
1- To affirm our position that we truly believe Mohammad to Allah's last messenger.
2- To insure that we remember that he is only the messenger of Allah.
This keeps us from elevating the status of Mohammad from a messenger/prophet to that of being the deity, the Christians' church has done with Jesus (PBUH).
The first thing Allah asks us to do is to believe Him and His messenger. This belief implies obedience as well as seen in the above verses.
The second thing that Allah asks us: "that ye strive (your utmost) in the cause of Allah with your wealth and personsâ€¦" Allah says: "Tujaahiduuna Fe sabillilah." The Arabic word "Tujaahiduuna" comes from the word "Jahada" which means: he strives and endeavored, or took great pains to accomplish something. So we can say that the word "tujahiduuna" means devoting serious effort or energy to Allah's cause "fi sabillilah". To strive in Allah's cause means one must endeavor to bring one's life in concert with the teachings of the Quran and to establish Islamic life in his own personal life, in his community and the world. Allah says: "Tujaahiduuna fi sabillilah bi amwaalikum wa anfusikum," that we must attempt to accomplish this with our wealth and persons. The Arabic word "amwal" means property, possessions, money, assets, wealth, etc.
We must strive in Allah's cause utilizing all of the halal means in our possession. Donating money, building or establishing Islamic institutions, or even by sharing Islamic knowledge can do this - because knowledge is indeed an asset. True and the proper knowledge of Quran are a wealth beyond measure.
Allah says that we must also strive in his cause with our persons. He says: "wa anfusikum" strive with your soul, mind, life, etc. We are to strive with our wealth and the most priceless comes from the Arabic word "Nafusa" which means to be precious, valuable, and priceless. We are to give our lives too, and in the cause of Allah figuratively and literally also by saying that. We should strive with our persons (selves), it so implied that we must let our character our behavior, our speech, and our actions be a means of striving in the cause of Allah. We must utilize the innate talents, all skills that Allah has instilled in us, we must use any and all halal means in advancing in the cause of Allah. We must strive our utmost to the best of our abilities, powers, and resources. Allah says:" Khayrlakum in kuntom ta'alamoon." "That would be best, (more excellence) for you if you only knew." It is better than anything is else that if we only knew it. This is our side of the bargain; we are to believe in Allah and His messenger and strive in his cause utilizing our wealth and persons.
But what of Allah's end of the bargain? What does the Most Beneficent one offer us in return for our effort? As we already know, the first thing is safety from a grievous punishment. Allah says that He will forgive our sins. He says: "Waghfirlakum dhunuubikum", he will forgive your sins. Allah says that he will forgive us and grant us a pardon for our sins, crimes, and misdeed. This one thing in itself is enough to constitute a bargain. For how many of us are free from sin? Allah mentions in the Quran that if he were to punish mankind for their wrong doings, He would not leave a single creature on the earth. After forgiving our sins, Allah says: "Yad khilkum janatin tajree min tahtehal anharo wa masakina tayebaten fi janaten."
The Islamic Bulletin
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