- they cannot harm nor can they benefit;
- they cannot give nor can they keep back;
- they cannot give life nor can they give death;
- they cannot convey nor can they cut off;
- they cannot bring near nor can they take away;
- they cannot make happy nor can they make sad;
- they cannot bestow nor can they deprive;
- they possess for themselves neither benefit nor harm,
- nor death, nor life, nor resurrection.
One time the Messenger of Allah ﷺ led the morning prayer. Some minor mistakes were made whilst the chapter Romans was being recited. After finishing the prayer the Prophet turned to the congregation and said:
“Some people are coming to the prayer without ablution and this is the cause for Satan interfering in our recitation. When you come for prayer, take your ablution as carefully as you can”.
Thus purification and the taking of ablution with care before prayer is crucial for the soundness of our worship. It is also a great virtue to be always in a state of ablution to the best of one’s ability. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ liked to carry out all of his tasks while he had ablution.
According to Abu Juhaym , the Messenger of Allah ﷺ once came across someone as he was coming from the Well of Jamal. The man greeted him, but the Prophet ﷺ did not return the greeting. He ﷺ immediately went to a wall and wiped his hands and face over it to perform the tayammum (dry ablution), and then he accepted the man’s greeting of peace. (Bukhari, tayammum, 3)
With this action, the Prophet of Allah ﷺ demonstrated how it is possible for one to always be in a state of ablution. This is also an indication of how virtuous it is to take ablution before carrying out a task, even though that task is not obligatory.
In another instance, Ibn-i Abbas (RadiAllahu Anhu) narrates:
“When the Prophet of Allah ﷺ finished relieving himself he would first pour water over his hands to wash them and then he would perform tayammum with dry earth. I once asked him:
“O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, there is water available. Why did you do that?” The Prophet replied:
“How can I be sure that my spirit will not be taken back from me before I reach water?” (Ahmad, I, 288, 303; Haysami, 263).
According to another narration whenever he needed to perform the major ablution, the Prophet ﷺ would wipe his hands over the walls and do tayammum in order not to be without ablution until he could perform his major ablution. (Haysami, I, 264).
This is the scope of the material and spiritual cleanliness that the Prophet demonstrated to his community…
Yawm al-akhira (The Last Day): According to one account, when the sur (trumpet) is blown by Israfil, all living things will fall and die. The time starting then and continuing through the resurrection of people, the entering into paradise of those bound for paradise, and the entering of hell for those bound for hell, is called “ The Last Day.”
According to another account, the hereafter (al-akhira) starts when people begin to be resurrected so they can be called to account for their deeds, and continues forever. There are other names for al-akhira, but “yawm al qiyamah ( The Day of Resurrection),” is the most famous.
Hayat al-Qabr (Life in the Grave): The life in the grave begins with the death of a person and continues until his resurrection. After being placed in the grave, two angels come and ask, “Who is your Lord? And what is your religion? Who is your prophet? ” These are called the questions of the grave. These questions will be asked of everybody. People with bodies that have disintegrated or burned to ashes will also be asked.
The life in the grave means the start of the hereafter. People bound for heaven and people bound for hell will begin to taste the sweetness of the life in heaven or the punishment of hell respectively to a lesser or greater degree.
The life in the grave should not be compared with the life of this world.
However, in sleep (which is called the “little death”) we can taste with our souls joyous pleasure or miserable pain, thus seeing an example of al akhirah in this life.
Jannah (Paradise) is a place of reward. It has been made for the mu’mins (believers). In an ayah, it says “therein you shall have all that your souls desire, all that you call for” (Quran, 41:31, Arberry translation).
Jahannam (Hell) is the place of punishment for those who rebel and go against Allah. Those who die whose sins are great and those believers deemed unworthy of intercession, go there along with unbelievers and hypocrites. While believers who enter will be taken out after a punishment of a specified time; unbelievers, hypocrites, and polytheists will remain permanently.
Mahshar: With the blowing of Israfil’s trumpet, all people and creatures will fall and die. Except for Allah, no living existence will continue. For a time it will stay like this. Then Allah will resurrect Israfil. Israel will then blow his trumpet again and people will then be given life again in an instant. They will gather in Mahshar for their reckoning.
The Book of Deeds: In Mahshar, people will be given their books (the books the angels wrote and prepared in this world). The people bound for heaven will be given their books from the right, while the people bound for hell will be given their books from the left.
Hasab (Reckoning): Allah will take all people to account at the same time. But each person will think that only his own reckoning is being done. This reckoning will be as our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained:
Everyone will be asked:
1- How they spent their lives.
2- What they did with what they know.
3- Where they got their wealth from and where they spent it (halal or haram).
4- And which roads (roads that are either pleasing or unpleasing to Allah) they wore out their bodies on,
And an answer will surely be given.
al-Mizan (The Balance): This is the weighing of peoples’ good and bad deeds.
Nobody will be wronged in any way. Every good or bad thing done will surely be placed on the balance. Each good deed will count for ten and every bad deed will count as one.
as-Sirat (The Narrow Bridge): This is a way, a bridge, that everyone must take: those who will be placed in hell, those believers who will reach heaven, polytheists, unbelievers, and hypocrites who will fall to hell. The ease or difficulty of the passing will be according to the rank of servitude to Allah in this world.
We came here for worship; we will return for reckoning.
We are guests on this earth; we will die to be brought back to life.
Story: The Story of the Bringing to Life of Four Birds
Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was telling everybody, “My Lord causes death and life,” and he sincerely believed this himself. Despite that, one day Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) supplicated to Allah, saying:
– O my Lord! Show me how you will bring the dead to life!
Allah Almighty said to him:
– Did you stop believing that I’m going to resurrect the dead, or what?
Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) said:
– I certainly believe, my Lord! But let me see with my eyes so my heart may rest soundly.
In reply to this, Allah said to Ibrahim:
– So, get four birds! Acquaint yourself with them well! When you call them by name they will fly to you. Then, slaughter them!
Chop the meat up and mix them together well! Separate this meat into four parts and put each part on the top of a mountain! Then call them in the way they are used to! You’ll see them hurry to you. After you see this, then believe well that Allah’s power is enough to do everything and he does nothing in vain, he does it knowingly.
Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was very happy that his wish was granted. Right away he took a pigeon, a peacock, a crow and a rooster and got them used to him. Wherever these animals were, immediately upon hearing Hazrat Ibrahim’s (peace be upon him) voice, they flew straight to him.
One day, in the way he was commanded, he slaughtered them. After mixing the meat together well, he separated it into four parts. He put each part on the top of a mountain. Then he retired to an appropriate place. Then he called the birds and rooster in the same way they were used to. In an instant, the resurrected, living animals flew straight to him.
Seeing this, Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) fell directly into prostration and thanked his Lord. His belief in Him was strengthened even more.
Allah the Almighty promises Paradise to His servants who fear Him in secret or in public. It is said in the Qur’an:
And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his Lord and forbids the soul from low desires, then surely the Garden – that is the abode. (Nazi`at, 79/40-41).
This is what you were promised: (it is) for everyone who turns frequently (to Allah]) and keeps (His limits), who fears the Beneficent Allah in secret and comes with a penitent heart. (Qaf, 50/32-33).
Their sides draw away from (their) beds; they call upon their Lord in fear and in hope, and they spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them. (Sajdah, 32/16).
The nights of the Messengers and Friends of Allah, which they spend in fear of Allah and in hope of His beneficence, are brighter than the day, for their nights are filled with the serenity and spirituality of their prostration in tears.
Tawakkul means to rely upon another, to appoint a trustee and to put one’s trust in that trustee.
One of the beautiful names of Allah is ‘Al-Wakeel’. This name has the meanings of ‘the one who takes care of matters which have been referred to Him, (in a most suitable way), and the One who takes care of affairs in the best way, the One who is relied upon, and the One who controls and who rules over everything’.
It is a must that the sole Source to be relied upon in all matters is the immortal, everlasting Absolute One of Power. It would be meaningless to trust somebody who is in fact the opposite.
Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an:
‘Put your trust in the Living who does not die and glorify Him with praise’ (Al-Furqan, 25:58)
Allah Most High desires that we, His servants, rely upon Him only. He says in the Qur’an:
‘So let the believers put their trust in Allah’. (Ibrahim, 14:11) ‘Whoever puts his trust in Allah – He will be enough for him’ (al-Talaq, 65:3)
The Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings) has said:
“If you were able to rely on Allah properly, you would be pro- vided for just like birds who leave their nests hungry and return full” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 33/2344; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 14).
When it comes to submission, this has the meaning of acquiescence and acceptance of whatever events befall one without objection and thus arriving at peace. Submission is an act of the heart, and it is to be free of any doubts that arise in matters that have come from Allah. It is to be free of carnal desires that are contrary to divine commands, desires that are not compatible with sincerity, and the curse of resisting divine decree and Islamic law. It is stated in a verse from the Qur’an:
‘No, by your Lord, they are not believers until they make you their judge in the disputes that break out between them, and then find no resistance within themselves to what you decide and submit themselves completely.’ (An-Nisa, 4:65)
The word ‘teslimiyet’ or submission has the same root as the word ‘islam’. This is why to truly live Islam and to be a true servant of Allah is only possible through submission. This is because Allah (exalted and glorified be He) is not pleased when His servant yields to any other than Him.
Submission is an act of obedience based on love. It was through the blessings of this obedience and submission that nothing – not his life, his property or his son- could hinder the Prophet Ibrahîm (Abraham) (upon whom be peace) from the path of his exalted Lord. Thus his act of worship, of which the pilgrimage is the best symbol for his reliance and submission to his Lord, will continue until the end of time. The tongue of Ibrahîm was an interpreter of what was in his heart and he would constantly pray:
‘I am a Muslim who has submitted to the Lord of all the worlds.’ (Al-Baqara, 2:131)
The aim of tasawwuf, which takes love as its foundation and which is the essence of Islam, is the establishment of feelings of submission and contentedness with Allah by allowing the servant to live under divine guidance and move closer to Allah with every breath. The effects and deceits of the soul that arise from the thousand and one worries, anxieties and pains that are rife in this fleeting world, will only begin to abate as a result of contentment and submission to Allah. How beautifully Ibrahim Hakki Erzurumi puts it:
Rely upon Allah
Submit and find peace
Be content with all His affairs
And let us see what Allah has in store; For whatever it is, it will be for the best
Scenes of Virtue
Once a Bedouin came to the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings) and asked him:
“O Messenger of Allah! Shall I tie my camel and then trust in Allah or should I trust in Allah without tying my camel?”
The Prophet replied:
“Tie your camel first, and then trust in Allah”. (Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 60/2517)
According to reports by Ummu Seleme (May Allah be pleased with her), whenever the Messenger of Allah (upon whom be peace and blessings) would leave the house he would always make sure to turn his face to the heavens and say the following prayer:
“In the name of Allah! I put my trust in Allah. O Allah, I seek refuge in You that I should stray or be led astray, that I should slip, or be made to slip, that I should oppress or that I be oppressed, and that I should show ignorance or be subject to others ignorance” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 102-3/5094; Tirmidhi, Deavat 35).
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ exemplified the nice character traits of the friends of God. Sometimes he would ask his Companions questions that would make the congregation pay greater attention, and in order to elaborate on certain matters. During one of these sessions, the Prophet ﷺ asked the Com- panions: “Is any one among you capable of being like Abû Damdam?” The Companions said: “Who is Abû Damdam?” The Prophet ﷺ replied: “He was a member of a tribe prior to your time, and he would say, ‘I have forgiven all those who have insulted and backbitten me.’” (Abû Dâwud, Adab 36: 4887).
This is an example of taqwâ: a heart of great temperament!
Hallâj-i Mansûr held his hands up to pray for those who were stoning him, taking refuge in Allah. He pleaded: “O Allah! They are unaware. Before you forgive me, forgive those who stone me!”
Taqwâ is such a great virtue that it brought the Companions close to the Prophet. Anas reported that a person asked the Prophet Muhammadﷺ: “Who is the family of Muhammad?” and the Prophetﷺ replied: “Every pious person is one of my family.” Thus we see that a believer who reaches perfection in taqwâ is held in such esteem that they are considered to be a member of the Prophet’s family.
The essence and meaning of life is found in taqwâ and living a life of taqwâ essentially means being a true friend of Allah, attaining Paradise and possessing a heart that can understand the deepest depths of Divine blessings. Thus, the truth of taqwâ is that one attains a soul that has been purified of all evil and one turns to their Creator with true faith; this is the only way one can reach Allah.
What is Taqwâ?
The companions of Allah (may Allah be pleased with them) have described taqwâ in many different ways. The lexical meaning of taqwâ means the avoidance, protection or safeguarding from every kind of evil. That is, taqwâ means the protection of Allah.
The term taqwâ means being under the protection of Allah by seeking refuge in Him, avoiding what has been forbidden and abiding by what has been commanded; it means fearing the punishment and the torment of the Glorious One and taking refuge in the shadow of His compassion. Therefore, destroying egoistical desires and developing spiritual aptitude is essential. In other words, taqwâ is returning to the glory of the orders of the Qur’ân and Sunnah, and is the means of eternal bliss in the family, in business and in social life- in short, bliss in every aspect of our lives.
Taqwâ is the act of disciplining the soul with the mystery of “He will prosper who purifies himself” (Â‘lâ, 87: 14) It is when we have done this that our hearts will attain contentment in faith, worship, and deeds which Allah approves of.
Taqwâ is the believer’s spiritual union with Allah; it is his manifestation of attributes such as compassion, kindness, forgiveness, mildness and perfection of the heart, as well as the seeking of Allah’s acceptance for every deed, every situation and every breath.
Taqwâ is the sincere repentance of the person who is continuously seeking forgiveness with both tongue and heart.
Taqwâ is the heart being full of affection and the fear of Allah’s Divine punishment.
Taqwâ is the preservation of the heart from evil thoughts.
Taqwâ means to adhere to the imperative of Allah and His Prophet ﷺ with great love and affection, observing the whole of creation with the compassion and kindness of the Creator, and, being repulsed by anything that is contrary to this, distancing oneself from any situation or action that could damage the soul.
Taqwâ is a heart that has been assiduously purified; and for those who are successful in such purification, their heart becomes a treasure with the best temperament.
Taqwa Consists Of Three Stages:
1. Avoiding the forbidden.
2. Aiding by commands. This is a condition to be followed by all believers and is the basic level of taqwâ.
3. Having the feeling of being in the presence of Allah at all times. This is the highest level, the true test of knowledge and taqwâ.
In the Qur’ân Allah revealed that He is “Nearer to [man] than his jugular vein” (Qâf, 50; 16) and with us as at all times: “He is with you wheresoever ye may be” (Hadîd, 57: 4) This unity means that one is adorned with Allah’s attributes and is aware of His presence at all times. The soul that is adorned with the garment of taqwâ will begin to receive inspiration that direct towards the truth and warn against falsehood and evil; they will realise the real value and meaning of worldly objects. The Qur’ân is a Divine work of art that helps man to resolve every problem he may face. Through the Qur’ân and the Sunnah we can gain peace and contentment.
When a person approaches the pinnacle of taqwâ, their perception of the Qur’ân and apprehension of the universe deepens and they become familiar with the wisdom and mystery of the universe. With the singing of the nightingales, the quivering of the rose buds and the steady flow of the streams which bestow the sound of peace, we can gain appreciation of the adornments and blessings of the universe. We begin to understand the spirit of Yûnus Emre when he spoke with the yellow flower, about the interpretation of his own mysteries.
True taqwâ is the sign of having reached Allah. Ibn Atâ’illâh al-Iskandarî stated that a believer who has a sound heart says upon attaining taqwâ: “O Allah, what have those who have reached You lost; and what have those who have lost You found?”
– An Excerpt from “IKHLAS AND TAQWA”