Tuesday, 28 September 2010
The Gifts of Every Moment
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 01st February 2010.
Each day, we see the sun rise and set, yet we are oblivious to the fact that each rising of the sun heralds a new set of Gifts from Allah (s.w.t.). Allah (s.w.t.) Sends new Gifts daily, both day and night. It is human nature to like to experience new things, for all that is new, is enjoyable. Allah (s.w.t.) Knows the intricate needs of His Creation and He is Constantly Sending His Gifts to Creation, in order to Fulfill these spoken and unspoken needs. Praise be to Allah (s.w.t.).
Each person is Sent Gifts, both physical and spiritual, according to his needs, of which nothing is hidden from the Perfect Knowledge of Allah (s.w.t.). For example, look at how a boa constrictor eats. It merely swallows the entire calf alive, and there is little taste or pleasure in that experience. Compare that with how we eat. Our food is cooked in a variety of succulent ways, and we eat in small mouthfuls, and we take enjoyment and pleasure in munching and tasting every morsel. Allah (s.w.t.) has Honoured us over the rest of Creation. This is how Allah (s.w.t.) is Kind and Merciful, Giving Pleasure and Satisfaction to us, for with every bite, with every sip. He Gives numerous tastes - sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Allah (s.w.t.) Gives and Gives; He is al-Karim. He Gives endlessly and generously.
However, there is more to it than simply Giving us pleasure with food. All the pleasures of this world are imitated pleasures. They are limited pleasures that are actually meant to show us what endless pleasures lie in store in akhirah. This is so that we would be even more thankful to Allah (s.w.t.) and would strive for it and seek closeness to Allah (s.w.t.). These worldly pleasures are a sneak preview of what True Pleasures lie ahead for us in akhirah. Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) cited an example to explain this. Imagine a chef whipping up a delicious meal in the kitchen. Before serving it, he takes a tiny pinch of the dish, to taste it, just to make sure that it tastes right, before serving it. Once he is satisfied that it is perfect, the chef then serves the customer, who tucks into the meal. That pinch the chef put on his tongue is the pleasure of this worldly life, and the entire dish taken by the customer, is the pleasure of the hereafter.
The pleasure of this worldly life, is supposed to whet our appetite for the life of akhirah and for us to witness the Generosity and Mercy of our Lord. But instead of doing so, after tasting this worldly pleasure, people become drunk on it and forgets the pleasure of the hereafter. These fools seek the pleasures of dunya, day and night. It is ironic. These pleasures are supposed to open our hearts and eyes to akhirah, and to our Lord's Mercy, but instead, it has blinded many and made them obsessed with this worldly pleasure. It is like the chef, who yearns for that next taste of a tiny pinch of food, whereas an entire dish, a true gastronomic delight, awaits him, once he has ended his work.
We yearn for different food types each day. People get bored if the same food is served on consecutive days. Allah (s.w.t.) Knows our needs and has Provided us with a staggering array of choices. We may enjoy His Gifts but may not forget to thank Him. And we must never forget that these represent only the tip of the iceberg. Much more awaits us in the hereafter if we are obedient. Similarly, there is a staggering array of spiritual food that our soul yearns for day and night. We must not just fulfill the bodily needs as animals do, but seek the spiritual food that distinguishes us from animals.
Of Him seeks (its needs) every creature in the heavens and on earth: every day in (new) Splendour doth He (shine)! (Surah ar-Rahman:29)
Yet Allah (s.w.t.) Himself is unchanged at all times. He has been the same from pre-eternity until eternity. Allah (s.w.t.) does not change, for Perfection can neither improve nor deteriorate. For example, if we say that Allah (s.w.t.) is Wealthier today, than He was yesterday, it means that He was poorer yesterday, as compared to today. It is impossible that Allah (s.w.t.) is ever poor. He is always the Most Wealthy, from pre-eternity, to eternity. His Wealth does not increase or decrease. Allah (s.w.t.) is unchanged, for He is Perfection and is in need of no one. It is Creation which changes continuously and is always in need of Him.
How we accept and use these pleasures will determine what sort of creature we are in Divine Judgement. We can be creatures of Light or Darkness, depending on whether we are grateful servants or not. Each moment, the responsibility lies on ourselves to accept these Gifts with gratitude. Hence in each moment of our lives, we are given opportunities to attain both worldly and eternal pleasure. To let those moments pass without benefiting is a great loss.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
By (the token of) time (through the ages), verily Man is in loss, (Surah al-‘Aswr:1-2)