Today’s class was deep. I was actually rather sleepy and was yawning the whole morning before tafsir, but SubhanAllah, I didn’t even realise that I didn’t crack out another yawn until right after tafsir finished..! Awoke me, it did!
We did a verse today that we are so familiar with – the words. One that we have heard of and read enough times, but the scariest part was when she quoted a hadith where the Prophet (pbuh) had said “Destruction be upon those who reads these verses and do not ponder upon them.” [Bukhari & Muslim] (a very very abbreviated version of it.)
SubhanAllah! How little we know!
So we’ll start at the beginning, with a very basic question: What is eman?
One I’m sure that has been asked of us many times and that we have answered as many times. But what is the response we usually give? Because as far as I remember, it has always been “faith.”
Eman is actually deeper than that, and can only be explained by concept.
We, as people, are compound creatures. Physically, we are made of many elements. Spiritually too, we have the ruh, nafs, feelings, emotions, etc.
Basically, there are two components in this puzzle: the body and the soul (ruh).
The body is from the earth and will be satisfied by things from it, which is why we feed it like we do. The body comes from the earth and will be returned to it where it will disintegrate into its elements.
We all forget about the ruh though. The ruh comes from Allah and will go back to Him.
“And they ask you about the soul. Say: The soul is something from the command of my Lord, and you are not given from the knowledge but a little.” (17:85)
As much as we need to nurture our body to survive and stay fit, so does our soul need nurturing. Have you ever wondered why people who seem to have all that this world has to offer are still so miserable? I read this quote somewhere and it was beautiful:
Some people are so poor. All they have is money
What their fitrah craves is connection with their Lord.
When you see a beautiful structure and all its elements, the fact that you can see it and the structure is there is Islam. The foundation that lays in the deep pit below it is eman – something you cannot see, but is what allows the structure to stand tall. Problems with the foundation equal problems with the structure.
The biggest misconception we have, being born Muslim, is that we automatically have eman. Which is why, I suppose, we’re all convinced that we’re all going to Heaven without having actually worked for it.
So how do we work on building that eman?
The most important thing is constant reminder of Allah. And the Qur’an is THE reminder. The reason we are told to connect with it is to maintain and build on our connection with Allah.
We have du’as for everything we do: eating, sleeping, using the bathroom, dressing, etc so that we are in that constant state of awareness.
“Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for people of understanding. Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and (lying) on their sides and they ponder in the creation of the heavens and the earth, (they say) Our Lord! You have not created this in vain. Glory be to You! So save us from the punishment of the Fire.” (3:190-191)
Only with this level of eman and understanding will one look at each and every thing – big and small – and recognise the proof of Allah’s existence. The Glory and the Power and the Ability in everything that is happening around us. The “standing and sitting and lying down” does not mean that we don’t do anything else with ourselves. Rather, whatever act we may be engaged in at the moment, our hearts be connected with Allah.
And when we realise this, that we are not created in vain, that our purpose of life must be more than that of a cat or dog or cattle – why else did the angels prostrate to Adam (a.s)? – do we ask to be saved from the fire of Hell.
There is so much time that we have already lost in trying to figure that out. Ya Rabb, forgive us for what we have done.
I don’t know if I have done justice to this topic or to the intensity with which it was delivered to us today. All I know is that we need a wake up call every so often, and this was one.