Featured Religious Concepts

Audience with Allah the Affectionate – 2

Audience with Allah the Affectionate (2) (Capt. M. H. Cheema) The second step of the Spiritual Ladder to climb in order to meet Allah, the Exalted, our Creator, is called Zikr-e Elahi (Remembrance of Allah). After performing Salat (the obligatory prayer) the very first step to be taken as commanded by Allah is, as mentioned in the Holy Quran: “When you have finished the Salat, remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on your sides.” (4:104). “On completing the acts of worship prescribed for you, celebrate the praises of Allah as eagerly as you used to celebrate the praises of your forefathers, or even with greater eagerness.” (2:201). Salat (prayers), must be performed in a certain prescribed manner, and subject to certain conditions, within particular periods of time. As our body needs water to moisten it at brief intervals, and it begins to feel dry and tired without it, so does the soul stand in constant need of spiritual refreshment, for it is apt to be starved when one is engaged in material pursuits. Islam has taught, therefore, that we should, from time to time, in the midst of our pursuits and pre-occupations, recall and reflect over the different attributes of Allah so that our whole attention should not be engrossed in wordly affairs. The remembrance of Allah should continue to refreshen our souls. The benefits of Zikr are similar to those of Salat. (See Page 54, Ahmadiyyat Or the True Islam by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad). Great stress has been laid by the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, on the subject of Zikr-e Elahi. I quote three references from his various writings on the subject: (i) “In short be clean in your doings and always engage yourself in Zikr-e Elahi. Do not be negligent. As a hunted animal becomes weary, and falls prey in the hands of the hunter, similarly one who slackens in the remembrance of Allah, falls prey to Satan.” (Malfuzat, Vol. V. p. 303). 42 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS (ii) “The real purpose of Zikr-e Elahi is that one should never neglect Allah, the Exalted one, and should constantly deem Him in his presence, thus he will remain safe from the sins. It is written in Tazkiratul Auliya, that a merchant while engaged in the transaction of buying and selling his goods worth seven thousand rupees, did not remain away from Allah, even for a moment.” (Malfuzat. Vol. VII. p. 20). (iii) “It is mentioned in the Holy Quran, ‘0, My men, remember Me, and forget Me not, nor I shall forget you and shall look after you. Be thankful to Me and have values of the graces I have bestowed upon you and do not shun them’. This verse clearly shows that to give up Zikr-e Elahi or to ignore it, is a sin. It is an old saying that at the moment you ignore Allah then at that very moment you become an infidel. The five times for prayer is just a reminder otherwise one should always keep oneself engaged in the love of Allah and should never become negligent. To rember Him on all occasions is human and you can fully rely on him.” (Malfuzat. Vol. V. p. 254). It should be remembered that Allah is by no means in need of being remembered. He is the Lord Creator. It is beneficial for us to remember Him. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is reported to have advised us that: “Remember God in prosperity and in your good times; He will remember you in your difficult times.” Allah, the Almighty advises us to remember Him and warns us lest our wordly affairs stand in between: “0 Ye who believe! let not your wealth and your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whoever does so – it is they who are the losers.” (63:10). There is no trade or bargain that should cause us to neglect the remembrance of our Lord, the Gracious. It is quite proper for a person to engage himself in wordly pursuits, but he should not neglect the remembrance of Allah. Giving the example of a person who remembers Allah only when he is free from his wordly engagements, the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, says: “Of what use is a pony which cannot carry a load though it can run quite fast when carrying no load? This kind of a pony cannot be admired by its owner, or for that matter by anyone else. The religious mendicant who sits down in a secluded place because he AUDIENCE WITH ALLAH THE AFFECTIONATE finds himself unable to carry the burden of the worldly affairs, displays weakness. Islam does not permit monasticism. I do not say that you should put away or leave aside your wife and children or your professions. No, I do not say that. The one who is serving somewhere should carry on with his job and the trader should carry on with his trade; what I say is you must give preference to religion. The duties of a believer are inter-connected in worldly as well as religious matters. The relation of a person with Allah is, after all, a very natural one.” Indeed, Zikr-e Elahi is the greatest virtue: “Verily, the remembrance of Allah possesses the highest beneficence. ” 43 (29:46). Depressed persons visit their doctors who prescribe for them a variety of tranquilisers or sleeping pills. These drugs affect the minute fibres of the brain. By the intake ofthese drugs one loses one’s fine sense and thereby feels a sort of drowsiness and thinks that one’s depression has gone. Drugs are not a cure for anxiety or depression. The real cure lies in the remembrance of Allah: “Those who believe and whose hearts comfort in the remembrance of Allah. Be sure, it is only in the remembrance of Allah that heart can find comfort.” (13:29). It is said that true faith in Allah and peace of mind are inter-linked. The wise realise that peace of mind lies in the remembrance of Allah rather than in the drugs and tranquilisers. Furthermore, Allah gives glad tidings to those possessing peace of mind: “0, thou soul at peace! Return to thy Lord, thou well pleased with Him and He well pleased with thee. So enter among My chosen servants and enter My Garden.” (89:28-31). There are numerous other verses in the Holy Quran dealing with the subject of the remembrance of Allah: “0 Ye who believe, remember Allah much; and glorify Him morn and eve.” (33:42-43). “So remember the name of thy Lord and devote thyself wholly to His service.” (73:9). 44 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS “Remember thy Lord morning and evening, and prostrate thyself before Him at night, and extol His glory for a long part of the night.” (76:2&–27). “And glorify thy Lord with His praise when thou art standing in Prayer, and during part of the night and at the time of the setting of the stars.” (52:49-50). “Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on their sides and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth, which impels them to supplicate: Lord, Thou hast not created all this without purpose, Holy art Thou; shield us then from the torment of the fire.” (3:192). “Remember thy Lord in thy mind with humility and fear, silently, morning and evening, and be not neglectful.” (7:206). “By men whom neither trade nor traffic beguiles from the remembrance of Allah and the observance of Prayer and payment of Zakat. They fear a day on which hearts and eyes will be agitated.” (24:38). One of the inherent qualifications of a believer is that whenever he is engaged in the remembrance of Allah or hears His name being mentioned, he pays full attention to it. The Holy Ouran says: “Is it not time that the hearts of those who believe should feel humbled at the remembrance of Allah.” (57:17). “Believers are only those whose hearts are smitten with awe when Allah’s name in mentioned, and when His Signs are recited to them they increase their faith, and who put their trust in their Lord. (8:3). “And give glad tidings to the humble, whose hearts are filled with fear when Allah is mentioned . . .” (22:35-36). Whenever false and derogatory statements are made against the believers, they turn towards Allah, the Mighty, the Wise, for His help and guidance in accordance with the teachings of the Ouran: “Be steadfast then under their calumnies and glorify thy Lord with His praise before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and AUDIENCE WITH ALLAH THE AFFECTIONATE glorify Him in the hours of the night and in different parts of the day, so that through His grace thou mayest win true happiness.” 45 (20:131). Allah, the Lord of the universe has created man and He wants to see him always remembering Him and glorifying Him to win His pleasure and nearness. Allah reminds the believers that under no circumstances should they slacken from the remembrance of Allah: “0 ye who believe! let not your properties and your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Whoever behaves in that way, it is they who are the losers.” (63:10). Allah explains to us that if we turn away from His remembrance, we would have a difficult time: (i) “But whosoever will turn away from My remembrance, his will be a straitened life and on the day of Judgment We shall raise him up blind. ” (20:125). (ii) “Whoso turns away from the remembrance of his Lord is subjected by Him to severe torment.” (72:18). Allah advises His noble Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to turn aside from those who turn away from His remembrance, thus: “So turn aside from him who turns away from Our remembrance, and seeks nothing except the life of this world.” I have delved deep into the ocean of the Hadiths (traditions) and managed to pick up some glittering rubies and gems on the subject of “Remembrance of Allah, the Almighty”: (i) “The best Zikr (remembrance of Allah) is ‘There is none worthy of worship save Allah. “, (Bokhari). (ii) “There are two phrases that are easy on the tongue but are heavy in the balance and are loved by the Gracious One: Glorified be Allah and His is the Praise; Glorified be Allah, the Lord of Majesty.” (iii) “He who recites ‘There is none worthy of worship save Allah, the One, Who has no associate, His is the Kingdom and His the Praise, and He has Power over all things’ ten times, is like one who sets free four persons from among the descendants of Ishmael.” (Bokhari & Muslim). 46 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS (iv) The Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to celebrate Allah’s Greatness in the following terms after every Salat: “There is none worthy of worship save Allah, the One, Who has no associate; His is the Kingdom and His the Praise and He has power over all things. There is no strength to resist evil nor power to do good except through Allah. There is none worthy of worship, save Allah. We worship none save Him; His is the bounty and the grace and for Him is all excellent praise; there is none worthy of worship save Allah. We hold to Him with full sincerity of faith though the disbelievers may resent it.” (v) “He who recites after every Prayer: Holy is Allah; thirty three times and: To Allah belong all Praise; thirty three times; and recites: Allah is great; thirty three times; and completes the century with reciting; There is none worthy of worship save Allah, the One, Who has no associate; His is the Kingdom and His the Praise and He has the power over all things; will have his sins forgiven though they may be like the foam of the sea. ” (Muslim). (vi) “When a company foregathers for the remembrance of Allah, its members are surrounded by angels and covered by mercy, and comfort descends upon them and Allah makes mention of them to those around Him. (Muslim). (vii) Abdullah ibn Busr relates that a man asked the Holy Prophet: Messenger of Allah, the ordinances of Islam appear to me a host, so kindly tell me something to which I should hold fast. He answered him: Let thy tongue be constantly occupied with the remembrance of Allah. (Tirmidhi) . (viii) Hazrat Anas relates that the Holy Prophet said: Allah says when a servant of Mine advances towards Me a foot, I advance towards him a yard, and when he advances towards Me a yard, I advance towards him the length of his arms spread out. When he comes to me walking, I go to him running. (Bokhari). (ix) Abu Musa Ash’ari relates that the Holy Prophet said: The case of one who remembers his Lord and one who does not remember his Lord is like that of the living and dead (Bokhari). Muslim’s version is: The case of a house in which Allah is remembered, and of one in which Allah is not remembered is like that of the living and dead. AUDIENCE WITH ALLAH THE AFFECTIONATE 47 (x) Abu Musa relates: The Holy Prophet said to me: Shall I inform you of some of the treasures of Paradise? I said: Certainly, Messenger of Allah. He said: It is: There is no strength to resist evil, nor power to do good except through Allah. (Bokhari & Muslim). I pray that Allah, the Gracious, enables us to remember Him much and glorify Him often so as to become the recipients of His grace and eligible for the reward promised: “and men who remember Allah much and women who remember Him much – Allah has prepared for all of them forgiveness and a great reward.” (33:36). And indeed, we have no power to attain to any good or to guard against any evil except with the help of Allah. Ameen. Justice and Tolerance “And when you judge between people, do so fairly and justly.” (Ouran 4:59). “Be strict in observing justice, and be witness for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against your parents or kindred.” (Ouran 4: 136). “And let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness.” (Quran 5:9). “And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but do not transgress. Allah loves not the transgressors.” (Ouran 2:91). “And if they incline towards peace, incline thou also towards it.” (Ouran 8:62).