Believers delight in Allah’s blessings

Updated 25 September 2014
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Believers delight in Allah’s blessings

A glorious beauty unfolds before our very eyes each day. A boundless, bright blue sea, majestic mountains, trees that have stretched their branches up to the skies for hundreds of years in wonderful obedience, the brightly shining Sun, the blue sky dotted with immaculate white clouds and sea gulls as white as snow.
Hundreds of people see such images every day. They all walk on the same shores and breathe in that clean sea air. They all watch ships weighing many tons and other boats sail on that magnificent sea.
While many different blessings strike the eye as one looks at the sea, when one looks at the land, one sees brightly colored flowers and lovely children and animals each one more beautiful than the other.
Consequently, people are on a journey wherein hundreds of blessings are on display. Everywhere they look, they see the unbounded wisdom and artistry of Allah. Allah reveals the flawless creation in the universe in verses: “He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again, do you see any gaps?” (Qur’an, 67:3)
“Do you not see that everyone in the heavens and everyone on the earth prostrates to Allah, and the sun and moon and stars and the mountains, trees and beasts and many of mankind?” (Qur’an, 22:18)
It is a fact that everyone who walks down the street will encounter hundreds of Allah’s signs and blessings. Wherever one looks, there is the beauty and matchless artistry of Allah. However, the important secret here is that everyone delights in the images he sees in direct proportion to his faith. A pair of eyes with faith will enjoy an ineffable delight when they look on nature, adorned as it is with Allah’s infinite artistry. They will be filled with excitement when they see a lovely and innocent child.
One’s heart will be filled with love when one sees a tiny but brightly colored bird and hears the sweetness of its voice. The joyous love and amazement here is in fact love and admiration for Allah. When a believer sees the manifestations of Allah, he constantly turns to Him and knows that these images are created for him alone. His responsibility is now to give thanks for our Lord’s infinite blessings and to prostrate himself before Him. “Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth... .” (Qur’an, 3:191)
The greater a person’s faith, the greater the effect these images will have on his heart. Sincerity, submission and deep faith will increase the effect of an image on his heart many, many times over. A believer gives constant thanks when he sees such fine images. Seeing images, reflecting on them and constantly giving thanks are a tightly linked chain of events in the life of a believer.
A believer immediately remembers Allah in the face of all the images he sees, and he gives thanks and seeks forgiveness in his heart. The result of this unending gratitude is the comfort and beauty that form in his heart.
A person can attain that glorious impact only by attributing the images he sees to Allah alone. However, many people in the world see Allah’s signs but calmly carry on as before.
No effect is created in their hearts; no love, no fervor and no beauty. They also sit down at table and consume delightful blessings. They also live in houses with fine views and walk through gardens adorned with varieties of lovely flowers but their hearts are empty because they have no love of Allah. Since they have no trust in Allah, and no patience, their souls are constantly uneasy, restless and unhappy.
It is therefore impossible for the images such people see to produce the effects and excitement they do in the heart of the believer. Such people are totally unaware of the great loss they are incurring as they see the signs of Allah but just carry on with what they are doing. Allah reveals the existence of such people in Surah Yusuf: How many Signs there are in the heavens and earth! Yet they pass them by, turning away from them. (Qur’an, 12:105)
A believer with profound faith delights in difficult tests as much as in the lovely things he sees. That is because noble fortitude and deep reflection for the good pleasure of Allah are hidden behind such tests. Cast into the dungeon at a young age, the Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) exhibited fortitude and immediately began preaching. The Prophet Noah (peace be upon him), when building his ark alone; the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) when departing from his people alone; the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) when setting out and leaving his people behind one morning all behaved exceptionally well in the face of the difficulties confronting them.
They were people of deep faith who knew that the images they saw were especially created by Allah and that they were constantly being tested. They felt the great joy of witnessing Allah’s close follow-up in their hearts at every step they took. They therefore delighted to an indescribable extent in the life created for them by Allah, and the love and joy in their hearts increased many times over.
The life of Paradise, the abundant blessings that will be bestowed upon them began for them while they were still in this world. Superficial images will cease with death, and the gates of Paradise, adorned with infinite blessings, will open wide for believers. These people felt these delights in their souls, woke up with the love of Allah and closed their eyes again with love of Him.
In this way, they felt the deepest passion, love and delight in their souls, in both this world and in the Hereafter. They represented fine role models for people living in their own time, and for those who would come after.
“As for those who have faith and do right actions and humble themselves before their Lord, they are the Companions of the Garden. Remaining in it timelessly, forever.” (Qur’an, 11:23)
n The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016
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The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.