Endeavouring To Perform One Act Of Goodness After Another

The human being is to pull themselves away from all petty things.

fa-idhā faraghta fanṣab wa-ilā rabbika far’ghab

Therefore, when you are free (from one task), resume (another task); And seek and strive to please your Lord.” (94:7-8)

They are to complete one act of goodness and hasten to undertake another.

The Messenger of Allah used to often ask:

Is there anyone among you who has visited a sick person today (without expectation of anything in return)? Has anyone among you visited one who is lonely, outcast, or forlorn? Who among you attended a funeral procession today? (Always referring to those who were broken [hearted].) Have any among you shown kindness to an orphan?”(See Muslim, Fada’il al-Sahaba, 12)

In the following verse, Allah Almighty makes mention of the prescribed purifying alms (zakat):

wa-alladhīna hum lilzzakati fāʿilūn

“They are in a constant effort to give alms and purify their own selves and wealth.” (23:4) They are constantly active.

The wealth in your possession is not your own. Allah has granted it to you in trust. That is why you are to actively exert yourself and find the (suitable) place to which to offer it. You are to bestow it upon those who make their situation known. As for those of whose particular circumstances you are not aware, the Qur’an states:

“That (which you spend) is for the poor who, having dedicated themselves to Allah’s cause, are in distressed circumstances. They are unable to move about the earth (to render service in Allah’s cause and earn their livelihood).” (See 2:273) They conceal themselves because of their uprightness and dignity.

Allah commands, however, that you must find them. So how are you to recognise them upon finding them? How will you determine whether or not they are indeed needy, and that they do not ask of the people due to their “abstinence and dignified bearing”?

It is stated in the verse:

“…you will know them by their countenance…” (2:273) This means that the heart is to become tender, subtler and more refined.

When Prophet Joseph, upon him be peace, was appointed to the treasury of Egypt, he distributed [the provisions to those who were needy] in a state of hunger so that he could share in their plight.

Allah Almighty also declares:

“…you will know them by their countenance…” (2:273)

That is to say, Allah Almighty demands something in return for everything that He bestows upon human beings. In a verse mentioned below, Allah Almighty declares:

wa-alladhīna hum lifurūjihim ḥāfiẓūn

“They strictly guard their private parts, and their chastity and modesty.” (23:5)

This does not only pertain to women; males too are to guard their chastity. You are to protect the purity of your eyes [or your gaze]. You are to protect the purity of your ears. You are to protect the purity of your state and manner.

Chastity is a quality which pertains to the human being. This is not in question for other creatures. You are to protect your virtue and purity as tomorrow your eyes will speak. An earlier verse, three or four verses above, states that ‘eyes will speak’.

Why did Allah give you these eyes and where did you use them? Why did He give you your ears and where did you use them? Why did He grant you strength of body and where did you use it?

“Read your book! Your own self suffices you this day as a reckoner against you,” (17:14) it will be said.

In just the same way that you write even a single word on a computer manufactured by a mortal, and however many instances there are of that word appears one after another with a single click. So let us consider the Divine computers… How will those computers come forth?

faman ya’mal mith’qāla dharratin khayran yarahu waman ya’mal mith’qāla dharratin sharran yarah

“And so, whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it; And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” (99:7-8)

Atoms will be poured forth before us. We have not been able to be aware or mindful of most of these. We passed these by without paying due attention and so they were taken from us. These too will be brought to light.

I don’t know… when sacrificing an animal, for instance, [if] we did so mercilessly. That animal will also come forth.

A blade was being sharpened in front of an animal. The Messenger of Allah said, “How many times are you slaying that animal?” (See Hakim, IV:257)

wayaqūlu l-kāfiru yālaytanī kuntu turābā

“…and the unbeliever will say: ‘Oh, would that I were mere dust (instead of being a responsible being with consciousness and free will)!'” (78:40))

After the rights of those animals have been restored, they will be commanded to become dust. And the unbeliever too will say:

wayaqūlu l-kāfiru yālaytanī kuntu turābā

Would that I were mere dust, the unbeliever will say, like these animals… What direful moments they will face…

(Let us suppose that) you burned a field and there were lots of ants burned beneath it. They too will come forth. If you lit a fire without reason and many animals were burned in it. They will also come forth.

Allah Almighty demands a tender heart from us. He demands a sound heart from us. He demands a repenting heart. He demands from us a soul at rest (nafs al-mutma’inna). He wants for each of us to be a sensitive believer.

[Consider] Abu Dharr. He possessed nothing worldly. Even Abu Dharr. [As mentioned in another] Qur’anic verse, “They spend (out of what God has provided for them,) both in ease and hardship.” (See 3:134)

The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said:

“Abu Dharr, add extra water when you prepare soup.” “And remember your neighbours.” Who are the people living around you. (See Muslim, Birr, 142)

And when you give, give in kindness, he said. Give in a manner that is illustrative of the Islamic character, he said.

Similarly, ‘Ali, may Allah be well pleased with him, said in relation to the matter:

“There are two blessings, and I cannot say which one pleases me more. The first is when someone comes to me for help with the hope that I will provide him with what he needs. The second is when Allah helps that person through me.”

(“One who leads to good is like the one who does it.” Tirmizi, ‘Ilm, 14))

kafā’ilih (like one who does) The same reward is received in any event.

In other words, fellow believers must be like two hands which cleanse one another. Our each and every brother and sister in faith is entrusted to us.

Allah Almighty thus constantly exhorts us to mercy with the Divine attribute the All-Merciful (al-Rahman).

What then, is mercy? Mercy is your giving to those who do not possess what is in your possession, for you to compensate for what they lack, to the extent of your ability and resources.

Allah Almighty then declares:

“They strictly guard their private parts, and their chastity and modesty.” (23:5)

All of these people are those who are promised Paradise. Allah Almighty refers to Mary, who ‘guards her chastity’ in thirty-four places. Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, is mentioned in many verses by means of the phrase “Jesus son of Mary”.

That is to say, Allah Almighty makes constant reference to Mary, reminding us of her chastity.

Unfortunately in our day, weddings, festivals and the like are held for show, in the form of fashion parades. This is something that Allah does not approve of. There is no blessing to come of this. We need to pay close attention to this.

And then commercial life, human relations…

wa-alladhīna hum li-amānātihim waʿahdihim rāʿūn

“They are faithful and true to their trusts (which either Allah or society or an individual places in their charge) and to their pledges (between them and Allah or other persons or society).”(23:8)

A believer, therefore, is to be mindful of their pledges and promises. They faithfully observe their trusts. The most important trust is our Qur’an and Sunna.

Again comes the prescribed daily prayer:

“They are ever mindful guardians (yuḥāfiẓūn) of their Prayers.” (23:9)

This is why Allah Almighty gives the glad tidings of Gardens of the highest level of Paradise in two verses: One at the end of the chapter Al-Kahf and the other in Sura al-Mu’minun.

This means to say that these Gardens of the highest level of Paradise are very difficult to attain. All that has been discussed thus far is to be put into practice and Allah Almighty invites to Gardens of the highest level of Paradise. This invitation is contingent upon all these verses.

There is also Sa’di Shirazi. He, like Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi, is one of the greatest friends of Allah. He expounds a great many matters, like Mawlana, by means of stories. This is because when the abstract becomes concrete, the mind is more easily able to comprehend it. He relates a story in his work entitled, Gülistan:

A person once went to the public bath and one of his friends gave him a piece of clay with which to cleanse himself. Clay was used as soap at the time. The man caught a fragrance, a beautiful scent from that piece of clay, which delighted his soul. He then spoke with the clay:

“Blessed one! I am enraptured by your beautiful smell. Are you musk or amber?”

And the clay replied:

“I am neither musk nor amber. I am the ordinary clay and earth with which you are familiar. But I was, for a while, in the society of a rose. I was forever moistened by that morning dew, those drops flowing from its petals and became softened. That smell is not from me, but belongs to the drops of dew coming from that rose.”

In other words, the believer is to take their spiritual fabric from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. That is when they can be truly human. Allah Almighty declares:

“He who obeys the Messenger (thereby) obeys Allah… in the 80th verse of Sura al-Nisa.

The Companions measured all their states and actions against those of Allah’s Messenger. Allah Almighty constantly commands us in various verses:

“Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet. O you who believe, invoke the blessings of Allah on him, and pray to Allah to bestow His peace on him, greeting him with the best greeting.”(33:56)

That he is the exemplar, a model for all people from all echelons in society, in every age and era. For who? For three groups of people. Allah Almighty lays down the specific conditions:

  1. Those who aspire to union with Allah: How is one to attain union and be together with Allah? Here are various verses:

“They remember and mention Allah (with their tongues and hearts), standing and sitting and lying down on their sides…” (3:191)

wajilat qulūbuhum: “…their hearts tremble with awe…” (8:2) And so forth…

That is to say, a believer must constantly keep check of themselves. To what extent does my worship, commercial transactions, family life, human relations resemble those of the Companions? The Companions are for us a mirror. What is the disparity between us?

They are to be with Allah Almighty.

They are have a concern for their Hereafter: We have come to this world as a manifestation of the Divine attribute All-Guiding (Al-Hadi), and, praise be to Allah, are Muslim. We are part of a Muslim society. We are a part of a peaceful society. We are surrounded by sounds of the Call to Prayer. We could have been living within today’s suffering societies. This is a great blessing from Allah. But nobody has any guarantee with respect to the Hereafter.

Allah, May His Majesty be exalted, declares,

“O you who believe! Keep from disobedience to Allah in reverent piety, with all the reverence that is due to Him, and see that you do not die save as Muslims (submitted to Him exclusively).” (3:102) One also has only one chance at giving their last breath. There is no second chance.

Allah, May His Majesty be exalted, declares,

“…If you help Allah(’s cause by striving in His cause)…”(47:7), if you remain on the path of piety and God-consciousness and enable others to do so, “…He will help you and make your feet firm (so that you are steadfast in His cause and ultimately victorious).” (47:7)

In that case, for whom is he the Fine Exemplar?

  1. Those who strive to be with Allah Almighty. Those who are conscious of constantly being under Divine watch.
  2. Those who worry for their Hereafter. Those who hope for union in the Hereafter. Those who exert themselves in the way of being one of the servants favoured by Allah Almighty. They will be of those who [on that Day] do not grieve and who have no fear. They will be in the company of the Messenger of Allah.

“A person is with those they love.”(Bukhari, Adab, 96)

  1. For those who mention Allah ever so much, there is the best example of conduct in Allah’s Messenger, states Allah Almighty. (See 33:21)

Again, Allah Almighty declares:

tijāratan lan tabūra “…a trade which will never perish.” (35:29) Which trade is the most auspicious? Allah Almighty informs us of this.

All trade, worldly transactions, belong to this fleeting realm. However, Allah Almighty communicates the true trade:

tijāratan lan tabūra “…a trade which will never perish.” (35:29)

yatlūn: They recite, practice and enable others to put into practice Allah’s Book and they make a great effort to [understand the message of] the Qur’an. The Qur’an takes precedence and comes first in their lives.

They establish the Prayer in conformity with its conditions. They observe the prescribed prayer in humble reverence.

They spend out of what Allah has given them, secretly and openly. Of course that given in secret is the best spending in the way of Allah. When necessary, however, one can spend openly for the sake of Allah, but taking utmost care to guard their heart [against destructive emotions]. tijāratan lan tabūra: [They] hope for a trade which will never perish.”(See 35:29)

In short, just as we have all gathered here today – with Allah’s permission – for His sake, the joys of Muslims must also be shared, as with their sorrows. A Muslim must always share the happiness of their fellow Muslims. They must share their sorrows.

May Allah Almighty enable all of us to be favoured with nearness to the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, on the Day of Reckoning, on that difficult day.