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The Final Exam

Note: Religious and spiritual contemplation is without a doubt highly beneficial to the spiritual states of believers, as evidenced by numerous hadith and Qur’anic ayats. Authorities rank the various types of contemplation and knowledge (‘ilm) according to their levels of spiritual benefit.

The following poem revolves around contemplation on the Day of Judgement. Regarding this type of contemplation there is a debatable hadith which can be found from amongst the Shia tradition and also apparently the Barelvis ( a Sunni group). The hadith incorporates an ayat from the Qur’an and mirrors a more sound hadith (quoted by Imam Ibn Hanbal, RA). Its meaning (matn), in my opinion, is beneficial. Regardless of its actual authenticity, it is a hadith whose meaning I find my heart ambraces.

It states as follows:

The Noble Prophet (sa) asked Abu Hurairah: “How do you contemplate?”

“As stated by Allah in the Qur’an: ‘(Men of understanding) reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth.’[40]. I too reflect upon the wonders of the heavens and the earth,” he replied.

The Noble Prophet (sa) remarked, “One hour of your contemplation is better than one year of worship.” Then turning to Ibn Abbas, he asked, “How do you contemplate?”

“I reflect upon death and the horrors of the Day of Judgment,” replied Ibn Abbas.

The Noble Prophet (sa) said, “One hour of your contemplation is better than seven years of worship.” Then, he asked the other companion, “In what manner do you contemplate?”

The companion answered, “I reflect upon the fire of Hell and its dreadfulness and severity.”

“One hour of your contemplation is better than seventy years of worship,” the Noble Prophet (sa) stated.

 

Without further ado, the poem:

Final Exam

All men are rushing
Forward toward that day
When there is no shade
No shade, but the Shade of Allah
Reserved for the pious ones

That day men will hasten
Some raving mad
at the stain in their skin, unwashed
Some serenely, pure,
with eyes only on their Lord
Some blindly-driven, hordes chasing
After their own desires

And in these poor, dead souls,
What should have matured into a niched-lamp
Reflecting a Light, a Mercy, from neither the East nor the West,
Has instead become a driving slave master,
A Demanding Fire
In their breast,
Riding its donkey after all things created

Beware this world, oh son!

Watch over your heart
Root out its weeds

Be not like those who,
On the Final Day have as friends
nothing but the ugly twins of:
Anguish and Self-Loathing

That day those who are the losers
Will feel the sweat of their crawling skins
Layered up to their necks.

 

Dua
Ya Allah remove not Your Guidance,
Ya Allah forever shower Your Mercy on us,
Ya Allah guide us to Your sincere friends,
SubhanAllahi, wal Hamdulillahi, wa la illaha ilAllahu, Allahu Akbar wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billa hil ‘alii-al ‘adheem
(Glory be to God and all Praise is for God, and there is no god but God, and God is the Greatest and there is no Might or Power except with God)
Amin Oh Lord of the Worlds, Amin

 


Living Quran

Like all believers, we Muslims see our Holy Book as a call for righteous actions, not mere intellectual or spiritual messages disconnected from our everyday life.

When the wife of the Prophet was asked to describe what he was like in his everyday life, she said that his character was a living Quran. If we read the Quran, then that’s the ideal “reading” that we strive to attain. Reading that leads to action. Prophet Muhammad used to pray God to protect him from knowledge that brings no benefit. This could mean inaccurate knowledge, or knowledge that one makes no effort to implement in his/her actions.

Muslims strive to memorize the Quran in its original Arabic. Some (not uncommon) memorize the whole book. Others memorize passages or complete chapters. I think it was Omar Ibnel-Khattab who said that the companions of the Prophet would not move to memorizing any new passages of the Quran until they feel they’re done implementing into action what they already learned. How many of our memorizing efforts nowadays follow this standard?!

When we’re told that: “And certainly We have made the Quran easy for remembrance, but is there anyone who will mind?” (Quran, 54:17), we can think of how the language of the Quran is so unique, musical and concise that some verses just seem to jump into our mind when a thought or an incident brings it up. Which makes it even easier to remind ourselves of the Quranic teachings when we need to.

I will try to use this blog to share the verses that catch my attention, and my thoughts on how to transform them into lived principles instead of mere chanted words!


Music with no instruments

Modern Muslims didn’t meet Muhammad, nor did modern Christians meet Jesus Christ. You can go on and mention all followers of all old religions and beliefs. There is no way to meet Jesus and ask him whether he was divine (according to Christian belief) or just a human messenger from God (according to Muslim belief). Prophets and messengers came with miracles that only those who have seen them could witness. Those miracles are useless as a proof for all of us who were not there. And there comes the meaning of what Islamic scholars say: the only forever valid miracle of Islam and of Muhammad is the Book; the Quran.

Today I will not go into any details other than an artistic one. I love music. But if you go into any mosque (place of worship of Muslims) you will not find any musical instrument, and you will never find one in the near or the far future. In a mosque, we can get our music from the recitation of the Quran. See the video below as an example of the music of the Quran. The language of the Book is so unique and special, and it’s very common among Muslims to see people who memorize the whole Quran by heart since a very young age. It is certainly the only book of its size that is known by heart by millions all over the world. This is explained in the Quran itself, where God says that He made it easy to be read and recited. Beauty makes things easier and more accessible. I myself see any truth as inseparable from being beautiful!

“And certainly We have made the Quran easy for remembrance, but is there anyone who will mind?”
Quran, 54:17


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