Featured Islamic Concepts and Beliefs


GUIDE POSTS THE BLESSED LIFE (Bashir Ahmad-Qrchard) A blessed life is one bestowed with divine favours. Every one enjoys blessings to a lesser or greater extent for which they should be grateful but too many people take them for granted and express no gratitude for them. Health, wealth, relatives and friends are but a few of them. When we compare our lot with those less fortunate than ourselves we begin to realize and appreciate the blessings we possess. We are reminded in the Quran: “And surely thy Lord is gracious to mankind, but most of them are not grateful.” On the other hand the Quran directs: “Be grateful to Allah for whoso is grateful, is grateful for the good of his own soul.” (Quran 31:13) The Quran also warns: “The ungrateful never prosper.” (28:83) “Thus do We requite every ungrateful person.”(35:37) Material blessings, however, are not enough to create a truly blessed life. The truly blessed are those who find blessings within. They dwell in the presence of God and He within them. They are suffused with heavenly light and they shed it wherever they go. Their conduct is sublime and their hearts glow with the warmth of divine love. Their happiness is not dependent on material possessions but rather on their relationship with God and their experience of His presence which animates every cell of the body with spiritual joy. The spirit of holiness pervades their lives. The following lines describe to some extent the charisma of the truly blessed: 4 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS WHO ARE THE BLESSED? Those who have kept their sympathies awake, And scattered joy for more than custom’s sake; Steadfast and tender in the hour of need, Gentle in thought, benevolent in deed; Whose looks have power to make dissensions cease; Whose smile is pleasant and whose words are peace; They who have lived as harmless as the dove, Teachers of truth and ministers of love; Love for all moral power : all mental grace, Love for the humblest of the human race; Love for the tranquil joy that virtue brings; Love for the Giver of all lovely things Who wait in peace their hour of final rest; These are those who are truly blessed. Islam teaches that all Prophets of God are sinless. They are perfect exemplars of the teachings they preach. God addresses the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) in the Quran: “O perfect man.” (20:2) “Thou dost possess perfect moral excellences.” (68:5) Again: “Verily you have in the Prophet of Allah an excellent model.” (33:22) The following is a moving prayer of the Holy Prophet. “O Allah, diffuse light into my heart and ears; Diffuse light on my eyes and on my tongue; Diffuse light on my right and on my left; Diffuse light above me and under me; Engulf me in Thy light. Hazrat Ayesha —• wife of the Holy Prophet — said about him: “He was an embodiment of the Holy Quran.” REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 5 The character of the Holy Prophet and his magnetic influence in transforming lives may be gained from the words of Jafar-al-Tayyar when he introduced Islam to the King of Abyssinia: “We were an ignorant and misled people; we worshipped images, ate dead bodies, were lewd; ill-treated our neighbours, and the strong despoiled the weak of their property. We had long been in this condition when God sent a Prophet to us from amongst our own people, whose noble birth, truthfulness, honesty and righteousness were well known to us. He called us to God, to worship Him, only, and to leave off adoring the idols and stones before which our fathers and forefathers had knelt. He ordered us to obey God alone, and not to make anyone His equal. He made it incumbent upon us to offer prayer, to give alms, to fast when not sick or travelling, he commanded us to speak the truth, to give back safe and whole what is entrusted to us by others, to be affectionate to our relatives and kind to our neighbours, to shun wicked acts, licentiousness and bloody quarrels. He told us not to bear false witness, not to deprive orphans of their property, not to impute bad motives, nor to be suspicious of women. We have taken his advice and admonitions to heart; have believed in his truthfulness; have followed all the orders which God had made known to us; and have believed in the Unity of God. We abstain from what is forbidden and confine ourselves to what is permitted. Our people are infuriated at this change in our belief, thoughts and actions. They have persecuted us, and done their best to force us back to the idols, images and wicked acts which we have left. When it became impossible to live among them, and when persecution and torture became unbearable, we left our country, and , believing you to be a tolerant king, have taken refuge in your dominions.” The following description of the Holy Prophet by Syed Ameer Ali in his book ‘The Spirit of Islam’ is most inspiring: “We have seen this wonderful man as an orphan child who had never known a father’s love, bereft in infancy of a mother’s care, his early life so full of pathos, growing up 6 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS from a thoughtful childhood to a still more thoughtful youth. His youth as pure and true as his boyhood; his manhood as austere and devout as his youth. His ear ever open to the sorrows and sufferings of > the weak and the poor; his heart ever full of sympathy and tenderness towards all God’s creatures. He walks so humbly and so purely, that men turn round and point; ‘There goes al-Amin, the true, the upright, the trusty.’ A faithful friend, a devoted husband; a thinker intent on the mysteries of life and death, on the responsibilities of human actions, the end and aim of human existence he sets himself to the task of reclaiming and reforming a nation, nay, a world, with only one loving heart to comfort and solace him. Baffled, he never falters; beaten, he never despairs. He struggles on with indomitable spirit to achieve the work assigned to him. His purity and nobleness of character, his intense and earnest belief in God’s mercy, bring round him ultimately many a devoted heart; and when the moment of the severest trial comes, like the faithful mariner, he remains steadfast at his post until all his followers are safe, and then betakes himself to the hospitable shore: such we have seen him. We shall see him now the king of men, the ruler of human ̂ hearts, chief, lawyer, and supreme magistrate, and yet without any self-exaltation, lowly and humble. His history henceforth is merged in the history of the commonwealth of which he was the centre. Henceforth the Preacher who with his own hands, mended his clothes, and often went without bread, was mightier than the mightiest sovereigns of the earth.” Let a non-Muslim now give his testimony. Sir William Muir was a nineteenth century orientalist and a dedicated Christian missionary. After describing the spiritual torpor in which Arabia was steeped in at the time of the advent of the Holy Prophet, he writes in his book ‘Life of Mohomet’: “Their religion was a gross idolatry, and their faith rather the dark superstitious dread of unseen beings, whose good will they sought to propitiate and whose displeasure to avert, than the belief in an overruling Providence. The life to come and retribution for good and evil were, as motives of actions, practically unknown. Thirteen years before the REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 7 Hijra (July 2, A.D. 622), Mecca lay lifeless in this debased state. What a change had those thirteen years now produced! A band of several hundred persons had rejected idolatry, adopted the worship of One God and surrendered themselves implicitly to the guidance of what they believed to be a revelation from Him, praying to the Almighty with frequency and fervour, looking for pardon to His mercy and striving to follow after good. They now lived under a constant sense of the Omnipotent power of God and of His Providential care over the minutest of their concerns. In all the gifts of nature, in every relation of life, at each turn of their affairs, individual or public, they saw His hand. And above all, the new existence in which they exulted was regarded as the mark of special grace, while the unbelief of their blinded fellow-citizens was the hardening stamp of reprobation. Muhammad wjis the minister of life to them, the source under God of their newborn hopes, and to him they yielded an implicit submission.” The life of the Holy Prophet was the most blessed life of the highest order. Constantly he was in converse with his Creator and constantly minute by minute he manifested the attributes of God in his blessed personality. He brought life to the dead, made saints out of sinners and brought about a spiritual revolution not only in the acceptance of beliefs by an erstwhile godless and degenerated nation, but also by a spiritual transformation in their personal conduct. How sweet was the perfume of his heavenly fragrance and how beautifully has he been extolled in a poem by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – The Promised Messiah and Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam: “What a noble man! What a comely man; His breath smells like the breath of flowers. God is visible in his face, Such are his virtues, such is his case. That is why he is loved. Indeed his virtues demand That he should be loved to the exclusion of all. Easy of access, noble, bounteous, friend of the God-fearing. 8 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS And he excels all in excellence and nobility, . In glory and the beauty of the soul. Muhammad is the best of creatures, The soul of the nobles, the elect of the elect. All noble virtues have found their limit in him. The blessings of all times have found their place in him. By God! Muhammad is next to God, And through him alone can we reach God. He is the pride ‘of the pious, the holies. He is the pride of the men of virtue. He excels all those who were honoured before him. Indeed excellence is a matter of virtue and not of time. The blessed life is the noblest and most rewarding of all vocations. It is the fruit of righteous living which may be sampled by all who search and strive for it through prayer, good works and behaviour. POWER OF OPTIMISM Do not permit a single adverse feeling to continue for a second. Change the mind at once by turning your attention upon something that will make you feel better. Resolve to feel the way you want to feel under all circumstances, and you will gradually develope the power to do so. Persist in feeling cheerful, hopeful, optimistic and strong. Place yourself on the bright side and the strong side of everything that transpires in your Me, and you .will constantly gain power — that will invariably be in your favour. (Christian D. Lawson)


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