Religion is lived by love and enthusiasm in heart

Updated 10 July 2014
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Religion is lived by love and enthusiasm in heart

In the holy month of Ramadan, the blessings and the spirit of love of Islam is being felt deeply in believers’ hearts. It is very important that the blessings poured upon people by this spirit of love and faith does not remain limited to this one month alone but spreads to all our lifetimes. To accomplish this, we need to take every opportunity in speaking about love and encouraging peace.
Life becomes meaningful with faith and love. Allah loves to love and be loved and this is why He created the universe with love. We witness this fact everywhere and in everything. That the Earth accommodates so much artistry, the variety of colors, the aesthetics in nature, the beauty in animals are all the kindness and love Allah offers to His servants.
The enormous artistry in a tiny flower, the transition of colors on its petals are all out of the love Allah feels for His servants. The fragrance, the aesthetics of the fruits and vegetables Allah creates for us, the delicacy in their seeds, the way they are packaged are all again because of the love Allah has for us, His servants.
In the absence of love one cannot live by the religion in the true sense of the word. Love is obligatory upon human beings. In a person who has not placed this understanding into his heart, there exists an emptiness in his heart. Everything a Muslim does for the sake of Allah is based on love. The fear and awe one feels for Allah is again based on this love.
A believer avoids doing something that will not please Allah. This is what we call “fear of Allah.” This is similar to the case of a person who abstains from doing the slightest thing that will be disliked or that displeases the person he loves. He even takes precautions against the possibility of his being displeased. Similar to this, beneath the fear of Allah lies the love one has for Allah.
A person experiences religion in his heart. It is enjoyed with love, zeal, sincerity and with joy and enthusiasm. It is not imposed on a person by compulsion. That is why love of faith is the most essential and important issue.
Imagine a person who fulfills his regular prayers everyday, fasts, counts his beads and knows the Qur’an by heart but this person is cold towards other people. He is cruel and strict. He is not forgiving. He thinks that even the slightest mistake must be punished rather than changed for the good by gentle admonition. He does not like others and takes every opportunity to criticize them. However he is very meticulous about formalities. He knows the Qur’an but he does not put Its commandments into practice in his daily life. Such a person is distant to the spirit of the Qur’an, because Islam is love, understanding, compassion, being reconciliatory and unitary.
According to the Qur’an, it is obligatory upon Muslims to love one another. In the verses of the Qur’an, Allah speaks of His forgivingness, protectiveness and mercy. The 22nd verse of Surat an-Nur Allah reads: “...Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Everyone definetly wants to be forgiven and pardoned, and deeply hopes for this. In the way that our Lord relates in this verse, it is essential for us to be affectionate, complementary and forgiving.
We already experience the nefarious consequences of this lovelessness. The Islamic world is disunited and disintegrated. There is a reason for this; the compassion, love, forgiveness, and protective spirit is not duly experienced. Islamic communities do not have a compassionate outlook towards one another and they do not approach one another in a brotherly spirit. People who are brothers in faith, who believe in the same Allah and His prophet have been detached from one another because of some differences in details.
It is evident that this is a sedition stirred up by anti-Christ, a satanic trap. Satan prevents Muslims from showing love and compassion, which is in the essence of religion, to one another. The way to deal with this sedition is to love one another and to become united. We need to put the spirit of cooperation and self-sacrifice that exists in the Qur’an into practice.
Our Lord says: “Allah loves those who strive in His Way in ranks like well-built walls” and thus informs us about the kind of love that is obligatory upon us. (Surah Saf: Verse 4)
We are the guardians of one another. Muslims are people with saint-like morality. They are the friends of Allah, His assistants and they are the people with superior morality that will distribute peace and justice to the Earth. So what is obligatory upon Muslims is their loving one another, their embracing one another and making alliance with one another. Thwarting the sedition of satan urgently and spreading the spirit of self-sacrifice within the Islamic world, and embracing one another without considering the differences in Islamic schools and Islamic communities is what is obligatory upon them.
In Surah Al ‘Imran Verse 103, our Almighty Allah commands to Muslims:, “Hold fast to the rope of Allah all together, and do not separate. …” It is obligatory upon us not to disunite, but to embrace one another, to cooperate, to support one another and put an end to the sedition in the ideological sense.
All around the world, Muslims are being martyred everyday. Poor women, little children and elderly people are being killed only because the compassionate and mighty spirit of the morality of Islam has not been secured and believers have not become united. But the solution is rather easy.
Allah creates destiny and He informs us about the keys to salvation. What we need to do is to place that key into the lock. This is to establish love, compassion among our brothers.
With the love that Allah makes obligatory upon us all, Muslims must set aside all kinds of separation and make alliance. Let us all hope that this holy month of Ramadan becomes instrumental for Muslims to attain those days when they have deeper love for another, become more compassionate and more restrained.

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.