Thursday, October 9, 2014

Islam - The Experience

In The Name of Allah, The Compassion (in His Essence), The Merciful (to His Creations)

"Islam" has been called a religion, a way of life, submission to the Will of God, and many other definitions. What is very interesting is that, the sign (AYAH) to the definition of "Islam" lies in the root of the word - SA-LI-MA (to be safe, to be peaceful, to be sound). If The Qur'an relates that The Creator has sent down an Arabic Qur'an so that mankind may use their intellect, then it becomes evident that the Arabic of the Qur'an is a hidden treasure for thought and action. One can thus define - as a beginning - Islam as the strive / work towards inner and out peace, through sound decisions to ensure one's own and other people's safety in this world and the next. This then can translate into the understanding that "Islam" is an "Experience Action" not a subject/ discipline to be studied, rather an experience to be lived.

The historical dissecting (secularisation) of knowledge from the Prophets (because Allah SWT sent prophets to all peoples) into various subjects: religion, culture, philosophy, psychology, science, maths, geography, economics, politics, Fiqh, Arabic, Seerah. Tareeqah, Shariah,  etc. has left individuals and communities in confusion. Faith in The One God, Allah, The Exalted,  (Imaan) calls mankind to soundness (Islam), harmony/ peace (Islam) and safety (Islam) and Unity (Tauheed). It does this through an unchanging, everlasting, unadulterated, Holistic, Integrative Text (The Qur'an), and a perfect human example the Prophet Mughammad (Pbuh) - the highest example in creation (gu-lu-qil-'a-them).

Allah (SWT) calls Islam DEEN, in the Qur'an. The basic root of DEEN is DAA-NA, which means to be "indebted /to owe". Thus when one realises and experiences the Granted Blessing from Allah SWT, then one feels indebted to Allah SWT and then becomes grateful to Him. Gratefulness is a deep feelings of thanks for all the favours from Allah SWT. Now the IBAADAH (the expressions of true love for Allah SWT, commonly translated as "worship") has been shown by the Prophet Mughammad (SAW) who was the one who truly experienced the value of GOD's Gifts to him and mankind. Worship is thus an expression of gratefulness and devotion(deep love) to The One Who Created us.

The opposite of Gratefulness is ungratefulness (KUFR). KUFR which has the root KA-FA-RA, basically means to be ungrateful, to cover up, to disbelieve. This thus explains the process of disbelief - first the person is ungrateful for all the Blessings from Allah SWT, then he/she covers up the truth, thereafter the person disbelieves. Thus DEEN means the path (SI-RAAT) to gratefulness - DEEN also  means "to bow" or "subject oneself, voluntarily, to the One Who Gives". Allah SWT created us and has subjected (SAG-GA-RA) whatever is in the heavens and earth to serve us as Gifts from Him therefore He is the Only One who has a Claim on us to be be worshiped/ to show gratitude to. Worship. "Islam" thus gets a deeper meaning as "a commitment to real gratefulness". You now experience that the word "Islam" cannot be easily translated into one definition, but that it unfolds into a wide, holistic experience.

When the KAAFIR enters the hereafter and sees the realty of his ungratefulness to, and rejection of, Allah SWT's Gifts, he/ she will say "Why did I not use my intellect". Thus DEEM requires of us to think deeply - to Reflect (TA-FAK-KUR). Reflection is a conscious, open appreciative thinking mode that sees the multi-dimentional value of every existent thing. It is thus understandable that every effort by man to fractionalise things takes one away from the innate reality of something. It can then be understood why there will exist factions/ sects/ various religions that disunite the hearts of people. We are all aware that divide and rule is a common aim of oppressors. We now experience the feeling that GOD is not an oppressor, because He wants us to see ourselves as one community in unison with the universe. We also understand now that any attempt to disunite a people is as act against the unity and leads to disbelief (KUFR). From this we know that because GOD is the Possessor of LOVE, we should love each other, because He created us all. We also learn from the GHA-DEETH - that the Prophet Mughammad (Pbuh) dearly loved his enemies and cried because they did not want to save themselves from the punishment of Hell, by believing in the Message he brought - We also know that Allah SWT told him in the Qur'an that he should not grieve over them - because it is their choice.

Allah SWT calls to all people in the Qur'an, as a reminder and witness, that they should reflect on the Blessings He Granted, of birth, sight, hearing, thought, rain, produce etc. and conclude from all those that HE, Allah SWT, is the only ONE GOD and that He is the only One to Whom Praise and Thanks is due. HE warns the KAAFIR (the ungrateful) that His Punishment is Sever and also tells them that they inherently bring it upon themselves with their own hands. The core message from Allah SWT , in the Qur'an, is His guidance towards success in this world and the hereafter. The integrated value of the Qur'an, where man, nature, universe and intellect are holistically experienced,  can only be felt when one reads the Qur'an - in English/ Arabic - with the intention to make connection with Allah SWT. Allah SWT will then open the heart and allow His Grace and Guidance to descend upon such a genuine seeker for His Nearness, Love and Mercy.

The Prophet Mughammad (Pbuh) was sent as the human possibility on man's full potential. He (pbuh) was Granted full potential, where body, soul and spirit becomes one again - and then was Granted spaceless and timelessness in the Mi'raag - the ascension through the seven heavens and being able to experience the closeness to the Creator - an arrow lengths distance ( where The Creator revealed the Salaah for the believer in Him). The Salaah is thus the Mi'raag of the Mu'mi-neen ( Those who truly entrust their endeavour in Hands of God. The Salaah this opens the near communication with God - in which He ensures the believer that He will make the believer's ( entrusted in Him) what he/she wishes. The Ghadeeth Qudsi - sayings of the Prophet (AS) that is narrated that "God Said" - relates that the one who adores God (I-baad) draws closer to Allah SWT by doing what is needed/ advised to do to save  him/herself from destruction (fa-raa-ied) and what is optional for betterment which the Prophet Mughammad (pbuh) did (sunnah). Such a person God promises - that He will become the eyes, ears, foot and hand of such a person - meaning that the person will have divine awareness of things and will be guided in very way. Such a person's requests will be answered and will never be disappointed.  God also promises such a person His Protection, when he/she asks Him.God even goes so far as stating that God does not want to disappoint him/her when He takes such a believer's soul at death. Such a person thus experiences God's nearness and truly then becomes divine. The Prophet (Pbuh) was that perfect human example for everyone to emulate. The Prophet (pbuh) is the human proof of God's Promise to mankind - That He Loves those who Loves Him, and when He loves a person, the universe will love that person, pray for him/her and provide him/her his/her needs by the order of God. Such a person will truly feel safe and sound at all times because he/she knows God is with him/her - that God is closer to a person than his/her jugular vein. Such a person finds it difficult to do evil and easy to do good. Such a person is a benefit to others and in so being,is a benefit to him/herself by the Grace of God.

The above leads us to feel the experience of a true, practicing believer/ an adorer of God. Islam thus offers a human divine experience -which translates into being the vehicle through which divine blessings comes for the world. 

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