To Be A Muslim


  • bookcover

  • To Be A Muslim


  • I. LIVING FOR ISLAM

    Commitment to Islam requires proper creed, worship, and morals and observance of the Islamic guidelines for family life and personal self-discipline, as elaborated in Part One of this book. In addition, true commitment requires every Muslim to dedicate his or her life in a jihad to establish and maintain a system of Islamic governance.

    Three Types of People

    There are three broad categories of people:

    1) The Materialists

    The first group is secular in both ideology and practice. Regarding these people the Qur’an says:

    And they say: "There is nothing beyond our life in this world, for we shall not be raised from the dead." [ Qur’an 6:29]

    And they say: "What is there but our life in this world? We shall die as we come to life, and nothing but Time can destroy us." But of that they have no knowledge; they merely conjecture. [Qur’an 45:24]

    The secular humanists including the Communists and the existentialists (or post-modernists), all are products of this materialist ideology. A philosopher once said: "This universe was not created by either God or man. It has existed in the past and will be a torch of life that burns and dies in the future in accordance with the governing laws of nature." Lenin commented laconically, "This is a pleasant description of dialectical materialism."

    When mankind ignores the existence of life after death, where all the deeds are accountable, the material world will he man’s greatest goal and have the highest priority in his drive for knowledge They will work for it and drown in their desires for its delights without limit.

    2) The Functional Atheists

    These people claim to he Believers but are captives of materialism. They believe formally in Allah and the afterlife, and even think they are doing good, but their belief, worship (if any), and morals are pretentious and have no practical effect in life. Basically this type of people are materialists even though they may perform spiritual acts. Functionally, these people are atheists.

    According to Imam Hasan Al-Banna there are three such groups of people. [Hasan Al-Banna, Toward the Future of Man] He writes, "The Qur’an has established the purpose of our life and the reason for our creation. First, the Qur’an refers to a group of people who live only for eating and enjoyment:

    Verily Allah will admit those who believe and do righteous deeds to Gardens beneath which river flow; while those who reject Allah will enjoy (this world) and eat as cattle eat; and the fire will be their abode [Qur’an 47:12]

    Second, the Qur’an describes a group of people who bye for the glitter of worldly wealth:

    Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: women and sons; heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world’s life. But nearness to Allah is the best of the goals. [Qur’an 3:14]

    Thirdly, the Qur’an designates a group of people who live only to slander and find fault with others and to encourage mischief and destruction in these word:

    There is the type of man whose speech about this world’s life may dazzle you, and he calls Allah to witness what is in his heart. Yet he is the most contentious of enemies. When he turns his back, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief throughout the world and destroy crops and cattle. But Allah does not love mischief.

    These three goals in life Allah has bid us to avoid, because He has assigned the believers a higher purpose, which is to guide mankind to the divine path, and to illuminate the universe with the brightness of Islam

    3) The Sojourners

    These people, who view themselves as living only temporarily in the world, are the true believers. They understand the real meaning of life and the value of this world compared to the hereafter. The Qur’an says"

    What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But best is the home in the hereafter for those who are righteous. Will you not then understand. [Qur’an 6:32]

    This worldly life can not deter them from pursuing the purpose of their creation in this life. Allah says in the Qur’an:

    I have created jinns and men only that they may serve Me. [Qur’an 51:56]

    The True Believer conceives the world as a field of struggle. His life, knowledge, business, wealth, home, thoughts are devoted to obeying Allah and fulfilling His will. In contrast, the materialist uses the same capabilities to fulfill his selfish desires. This is evident in most of the achievements of modern civilization. The goal of this civilization is to maximize human pleasure and not to develop man and the universe toward peace and harmony. Most of the human inventions, such as the automobile, aeroplane, refrigerator, dryer, washer, furniture, clothes, music, and thousands of industrial products are designed to fulfill the human desire for physical ease and enjoyment. Islam encourages scientific and industrial research, development, and production , but only in accordance with moral guidelines in order to assure that our material progress will not cause harm and instead will benefit the entire community of man.

    Essential Knowledge

    In order to live entirely for Islam and follow the Islamic path, one must master some basic elements of knowledge, among which the following five should be highlighted:

    1) The Divine Purpose of Life - to serve and worship Allah only. [Qur’an 51:56] He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days - and His Throne was over the waters - that He might try you to determine who is best in conduct. [Qur’an 11:7]

    2) The Value of the World

    Allah tells us:

    Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life as compared with the Life to Come. [Qur’an 9:38]

    Such are the possessions of this world’s life; but the nearness toAllah is the best of the goals. [Qur’an 3:14]

    And in the hadith we read:

    It has been narrated that one day the Prophet (s) was standing beside a garbage dump and he called to the companions and said: "Pursue the world." Then he took a smelly piece of garbage and a rotten bone and said: "This is the world."

    On another day, the Prophet (s) saw the cadaver of a young sheep that had been thrown away by the owner. Then the Prophet (s) turned towards his companions and said: "Have you ever thought how worthless is this cadaver to the owner. By Allah, the world is more worthless in the eyes of Allah than this cadaver in the eyes of its owner. If the world were equal in value to a mosquito’s wing, surely Allah would not have given the unbelievers even a sip of water."

    Then the Prophet (s) said: "Doomsday is around the corner, but humans are still lusting for the world and are distant from Allah." Then he added. "The world is a prison for the believers and paradise for the unbelievers." [Muslim]

    3) The Certainty of Death Allah tells us:

    All that is on earth will perish, but the face of your Lord will abide for ever - Full of Majesty, Bounty and Honor. [Qur’an 55:26-27]

    Every soul shall have a taste of death, but only on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained his purpose in life, for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception. [Qur’an 3:185]

    Several abadith are relevant:

    Abu Dharr AI-Ghifari reports: "I asked the Messenger of Allah, ‘What was the message of the revelation to Moses?’ The Prophet (s) replied: ‘The books revealed to Moses are a reminder. It is surprising to see people who believe in death but still feel happy, people who believe in Hell but still laugh, people who believe in Allah’s assurance but still feel unsatisfied, people who notice how the world treats those who live in it and still desire it, and people who believe in the Day of Judgement and still do not do good deeds’."

    It has been narrated from Abu Hurairah that he said: "We went out together with the Prophet (s) to accompany a funeral. As the Prophet (s) was sitting next to the grave, he said, -Whenever a person comes to this grave it will shout: "Oh son of Adam, have you forgotten me? Do you realize that I am a lonely place to be in, a quiet place, a place for insects, and a narrow place unless Allah makes me wider?" Then the Prophet (s) said, ‘The grave is either part of a garden of Paradise or a hole in Hell’." [Tabrani]

    4) The Difference Between Right and Wrong

    In order to live for Islam one must learn the essentials of Islam jurisprudence, which is foundation of Islam and of all Knowledge. Allah the Almighty, has said:

    Do not approach the Qur’an in Haste, before it has been revealed to you in full, but say, "O my Sustainer, make me grow in knowledge." [Qur’an 20:114]

    The Prophet (s) said:

    Verily, knowledge is obtained by learning while understanding is obtained by experience. Whenever Allah wants to benefit a person, He gives him understanding of the din. [Tabrani]

    Verily, the prophets did not want dinars of dirhams, but knowledge. Whoever will accept it, will receive a real wealth. [Abu Da’ud and Tabrani]

    5) The Fallacies of Ignorant

    The wise man should learn to know his enemies. He should understand their way of thinking, their factional divisions, and their way of fighting. Moreover, should study their defects and shortcomings. Since one’s greatest enemy is ignorance, one must know the fallacies of the ignorant and their direct and indirect consequences, so then one can be prepared confront and fight them. The advice of the Prophet (s) is true:

    Whoever learns the language of tribe, will be safe from (their)tricks.

    The Characteristics of People who live for Islam

    Those who live by Islam and for Islam must follow the teachings of Islam, so that its patterns is their lives are distinguishable form the non-Islamic patterns of others. A life committed to Islam is:

     

    • Action-Oriented

     

    Commitment to practical action is essential because faith is not mere idea by it is rooted in your heart so that its truthfulness can be proved by action. Allah, the Almighty, has said:

    Verily man is loss, except such as have faith and do good works. [Qur’an 103:2-3]

    Do you enjoin right conduct on people, and forget (to practice it) yourselves, and yet you study the Book? Will you not understand? [Qur’an 3:44]

    Grievously odious is it in the sight of Allah that you do not practice what you preach. [Qur’an 61:3]

    Al-Ghazali said: "Two men bring disaster to me, a virtuous man with his falsehood and an ignorance man with his adoration. The latter dupes people with his adoration and the former dupes people with his falsehood." The prophet (s) reminded the believers:

    Be a person who practices wisdom and not one who merely talks about it.

     

    • Problem-Oriented

     

    A committed activist is aware of problems encountered by other Muslims and joins them in seeking solution. The Prophet (s) said:

    Move together with the book of Allah wherever it takes (You).

    Whoever does not pay special attention to the problems of Muslims, is not one of us.

    You are a corner of the corners of Islam, so don’t let it be attacked from your corner.

    In the battle of Uhud, Saad Ibn Al-Rabie died with 70 wounds on his body. Just before he died, he said to Zaid ibn Thabit: "Verily, I have smelt the aroma of Paradise. Tell the Ansar that Allah will honor His promises to those who are sincere toward the Prophet (s) and are able to catch his attention." Then Allah took his soul.

     

    • Honorable in the Defense of Truth

     

    Pride in one’s faith is one of the characteristics of the Believers. Allah, the Almighty, has said:

    But honor belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers. [Qur’an 63:8]

    So lose not heart, nor fall into despair, for you must gain mastery if you are true in faith. [Qur’an 3:139]

    It has been narrated that the Believers who were migrating to Ethiopia to gain freedom of religion met the King of Ethiopia, Al Najashi. One of the priests who was there with Al-Najashi started the discussion with the Believers by commanding: "Bow to the King (AI-Najashi). "Ja’afar ibn Abi Talib, who was the leader of the Believers, answered: "We are a group of people who never bow except to Allah."

    The history of Islam is full of anecdotes that show the early Muslims to be excellent in morals, and superb and courageous in action. These have been recorded by members of the first Islamic generation, for example, AI-Khubaib ibn ‘Udai, Zaid ibn Ad-Dathanah, Rub’ie ibn ‘Amir, Masaab ibn ‘Urnair, Said ibn jubair, and Said ibn Musaiyid. We should be well advised to study their history, scrutinize their life stories and follow in their footsteps.

     

    • Movement-Oriented

     

    A person who lives for Islam will work with other like-minded people. Believing in Islam means to work in solidarity with others in an activist movement, directed toward teaching the truths of Islam, enjoining right and combatting wrong, establishing the Islamic personality and family, and establishing the Islamic community with Islamic governance. Allah, the almighty, has said:

    [Allah to Moses], "We will certainly strengthen your arm through your brother." [Qur’an 28:35]

    Help one another in righteousness and piety, but help not one another in sin and rancor. [Qur’an 5:2]

    The Prophet (s) said:

    A Muslim working with another Muslim may be compared to a strong building. Everybody is reinforcing each other.

    Allah’s help is with the community. Verily, a fox will eat only a sheep who is away from the community.

    You must be with the Muslim community and their leader.

    Togetherness is a blessing and disunity is destruction.

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