بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is a transcript of a lecture given by Mawlana Wafi’ Muhammad.
The Merciful Lord Who is the Originator of the skies, earth and everything therein, Appointed man as His Representative on Earth. He Made man different from the rest of the creatures, as beside the human species that originated from clay, all the other creatures were created from water. When this was made known to the other creatures they became surprised to know that Adam (a.s.) possessed what was to be the Lord’s representative here on the Earth; although he was just a lump of mud.
There is no doubt of the fact that man is special. Some of the reasons which make him superior to all other creatures are: He has a physical body capable of manifesting the Divine Attributes in his earthly life, such as the fact he can show love, mercy, generosity, and so forth; if the light of the soul is kept clean it can reflect something of the Divine Light, just as the Moon reflects the light of the Sun; he is Given knowledge of what is in the skies and the earth, and ways and means of benefitting from them; he is Given a free will and the capability to choose from what is before him; he is Informed of the consequences of past tribes and nations that deviated from the Straight Path, such as Pharaoh; he is Informed of the success of those who persevered with patience and prayer, such as Joseph (a.s.); he is Given a Complete Code of Guidance in Book form, such as the Qur’an, which Clearly Indicates what is Permissible and what is Prohibited; and he is Informed that he came from Allah (s.w.t.) and will ultimately Return to Him.
In addition to having an earthly physical shell, Allah (s.w.t.) Placed in the heart of man’s physical shell a tiny spark of special light called the ruh, soul. So the human personality comprises of a physical shell and a non-physical element. They both are supposed to work together in order to produce proper representation on the earth. When one upholds the permissible, the nafs will polish the ruh, and indulgence in prohibited things will cause stains to stick around the ruh.
The wise person knows that deviation will lead to destruction, morally and spiritually, so he makes every effort to do what it right, by staying on the Straight Path. He knows that it is the Straight Path that will lead back to the Lord. In addition to making the effort, every Muslim is taught to pray:
ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ (٦) صِرَٲطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ (٧)
Show us the Straight Way. The way of those on whom You have Bestowed Your Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath and who go not astray. (Surah al-Fatihah:6-7)
Allah (s.w.t.) Informs believers in the Qur’an that Satan, in an effort to cause man to deviate from the Straight Path, decorates the evil and makes it look attractive, thereby enticing the person to indulge in it in spite of the consequences. Indulgence in halal things enables the nafs to keep the ruh bright and shining; while participation in haram things causes black stains to appear on the ruh, thereby preventing its light from penetrating through the cells of the body. These stains obstruct reflection of the Light of the Lord on Earth.
Ramadhan is a very important Institution, as it helps the person to restrain his emotion, refine his desires and control his lust. It also enables the person to develop the qualities of patience and perseverance, and to make efforts to get closer to the Lord through worship. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
… وَأَن تَصُومُواْ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّڪُمۡۖ إِن كُنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ (١٨٤)
… and it is better for you that you fast, if you only knew. (Surah al-Baqarah:184)
There is no doubt of the fact that life is full of challenges, both negative and positive. It becomes even more complicated as we do not have knowledge of the future. And because today’s action will impact on our lives sometime in the future, we need to try our utmost to make the right choices, those that will be of benefit to us in this world as well as in the next. We need to keep in mind constantly that material things will not stay with us all the times. Allah (s.w.t.) Says that material assets will one day evaporate, while what is with the Lord will endure. I f even if our worldly assets do not leave us we will one day, dead and leave it all behind us.
So Islam wants us to manage our assets and time in such a way that we can earn the best of both the worlds. It wants us to avoid the things that can be detrimental and harmful to us. Its fundamental principles are designed to enable each individual to understand that although he is in the world he is not part of it but is only a traveler. Ramadhan helps us to realise this important philosophy of life, as while fasting, the Muslim avoids a lot of the permissible things. If one voluntarily stays away from the permissible, how easy it becomes to avoid the prohibited? If that is done then the person will be able to realise something of peace, a blessing which material assets cannot provide.
The ideal situation is when the nafs and ruh can work in harmony, desiring to get closer to the Lord and not giving too much importance to material matters. In order to experience this state of mind a person is required to: perseverance with patience and prayer. If this is done, it will produce peace. Always keep in mind that it is only one life we have to live on Earth. We need to make the best use of it, as proper management and use of our blessings will enable us to live in the Garden of Bliss in the next life wherein there will be eternal peace.