November 7, 2011

From: Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia
To: My Fellow Muslims
Subject: “A FRIEND OF GOD”

Dated: November 7, 2011

My Dear Fellow Muslims,

Traveling to the Holy Kabba from every imaginable distance and by any means necessary, a large number of Muslim pilgrims have gathered barefoot, simply clad in two pieces of white seamless fabric and with all humility participated in fulfilling the ordained rituals and obligations of Hajj.

The locus of unity prevails during the time of pilgrimage; however, the sense of spirituality withers away as many pilgrims are not well versed in Arabic language. It is safe to conclude that close to two-thirds of the pilgrims have very limited knowledge of our Holy Qur’an. I know for a fact that countless Muslims from India and Pakistan prefer to rely on the on the clergies to help translate the Qur’anic verses to them, because they are being totally brain-washed in believing that no ordinary Muslim should dare comprehend the meaning of the Qur’anic verses on their own. It truly saddens me to find that the majority of Muslims do not take the trouble of reading authentic translations and commentaries of the Holy Qur’an, due to lethargy and also due to illiteracy. For instance, how many among us paid heed to the following Qur’anic verses:

How many were the cities which
We had to destroy, (the people of)
which had indulged in excesses. The roofs
(of their dwellings) are now laid in ruins,
and their wells and lofty castles abandoned.

Have they not gone around the land
(and drawn lessons from what they had
noticed therein)? Have they no minds to reflect
over, or ears with which to hear?
It is not their eyes which are blind; it is
their minds which truly are blind!

Surah: Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) Chapter: 22 – Verses: 45-46

My fellow Muslims, does any among us care to reflect upon what the Islamic countries are passing through in these days and times? Demagogues like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi have vanished from the face of this Planet Earth. Almighty Allah does not only destroy cities, but He also demolishes those who play the role of Demi-Gods. Just take a quick glance at their royal palaces and mansions:

Saddam Hussein’s Palace

Muammar Gaddafi’s Palace

From the Surah: Al-Hajj, the emphasis has been placed upon the opening of our minds to reflect upon the ruins of those who indulged in excesses, whereas, from the Surah: Ibrahim, one can sense that an intense significance is laid upon “Good Word” as follows:

“Do you not see how God compares a good word to a good tree?
It’s root is firm and it branches are in the sky, it yields fruit each
session with its Lord permission – God makes such comparisons
for people, in order that they may take heed – but an evil word is
like an evil tree torn out of the earth; it has no foothold.”

Surah: Ibraham (Abraham) – Chapter: 14 – Verses: 24-26

Our minds are plagued with so much negativity that we have no time to think clearly to promote positive thoughts. Hardly a few of us remember our Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace Be Upon Him) saying: “Any good deed is charity. Any good word is charity. Khwaja Ghulam Saiyidain (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace), a distinguished Indian educationist in his book, “The Faith of an Educationist” and in the chapter “The Educated Mind” has so aptly described our shortcomings in the following sentences:

“Intellectual honesty and moral courage demand that we should
be relentless in our judgment of ourselves and be ready to
admit our own faults whenever we err. ‘A Momin (man of faith)
is at war with himself and swoop upon his shortcomings as the
wolf springs on the deer.’ At the same time, the true Momin
tries to cultivate charity and compassion for others, both in word
and deed. And what is this charity in practical terms? It is the
quality which should permeate every moment of our waking life.
As someone has defined it:

It is silence when your words will hurt!
It is patience when your neighbor is curt!
It is deafness when scandal flows!
It is thoughtfulness for other’s woes!

Simple things to ask for and yet how few are those who behave
with charity in the simpler or deep meaning of the term.”

Tragically speaking, we have discarded many genuine Muslim writers, who have a burning desire in their hearts for Islam and who in the past have written books that are seldom republished in the Islamic world at large. Such negligence is nothing but yet another one of our shortcomings. Self-righteousness and personal salvation have deprived us from taking a collective action to safeguard and to preserve some of the wisdom of our elders. Dr. Fazluddin Ajmeri Naqsbandi’s last words in his book “Dawat-ul-Qur’an” were “Read Qur’an, Understand Qur’an and Practice Qur’an …. Action, action, and continued action.” Well, are we up to it?

Trust me, a fellow Muslim once sent me an email stating, “You have no idea what you are doing?” Perhaps not, but I certainly know how to “Read” an English translation of our Holy Quran and can sum up my personal opinion about our great religion of Islam. I do not have to belong to any school of thought to obtain my very own understanding of the Holy Quran. All a Muslim needs to do is to ponder and reflect upon the verse from Surah: Al-Nisa – Chapter: 4 – Verse: 125 as follows:

Who is better in faith than one who submits himself wholly to God,
act righteously, and follows the religion of Abraham, the upright in
faith, whom God choses for a friend?

Surah: Al-Nisa’ (Women) – Chapter: 4 – Verse: 125

Speaking of “A Friend, I find it appropriate to end this letter with an excerpt from Dr. Khalifa Abdul Hakim (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace), a great writer, philosopher, and poet,  who beautifully described “Islam’s Ideal Man” in his book “The Prophet and His Message” as follows:

Islam’s ideal man is not a world-renouncing ascetic trying vainly
to save his soul in isolation by privations and self-mortification.
He is a normal man with a profession or a trade, performing
some useful social function. He has a family to support which
he becomes a wage-earner. The Prophet said: “A wage-earning
honest worker is a friend of God.” Earning an honest living by
useful work can also lead a man to the highest level of existence,
designated as friendship of God. Not ascetic practices but socially
useful work is real worship. Islam emphasizes useful work as
worship. The Prophet looked at the calloused hands of a Muslim
worker which showed some black and hardened portions of the
skin and asked him if he has inscribed something on his hands
with ink. The worker replied: “No, I break hard ground with a
hoe which leaves these traces on the hand.” Thereupon the
Prophet kissed his hands; it was kissing the hands of “A FRIEND
OF GOD.

Finally, with the middle name “Rafiq” meaning “Friend,” I wish everyone of “My Fellow Muslims” a very joyous Eid-ul-Adha.

May Almighty Allah bless you and your family members!

Compassionately yours,

Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia

A Pen1 http://www.wethemoderatemuslims.comhttp://www.readingisliving.com

THE UNITY OF HUMANITY

In the Quran we find no appeal to the supernatural as the basis of belief. Man must outlive his demand for miracles and proceed from nature and reason to God …. One can proceed from God to nature, and from nature to God: whether we ascend or descend it is the same road. This is the meaning of the words of the Quran that God is the beginning and God is the end. It …. was this ideology of Islam which made the Muslims the great investigators of nature and appreciators of all philosophies which attempted to discover the meanings of life.

Self-surrender is found in all nature. According to Islam the earth and the heavens and all that they contain are Muslims. The earth that is spread, the trees that grow, the rivers that flow, the birds that sing, the meanest worm that crawl, all glorify their Creator in a tongue that man does not understand. Their living according to the natures with which they are endowed is their worshipful self-surrender and their silent, wordless prayer.

Revelation which according to the Quran is a supreme source of guidance may be natural, instinctive, or super-rational. Animal instinct, too is called in the Quran guidance by revelation, as it is said: “And your Lord revealed to the bee, saying: ‘Make hives in the mountains and in the trees.’ (Surah 16:68).

The Quran asserts that there is no natural or cosmic evil. “Who created the seven heavens alike; you see no incongruity in the creation of the beneficent God: then look again, can you see any disorder? (Surah 67:2) … Islam denies the existence of cosmic evil; the problem arises out of ignorance or narrowness of vision … So the question that if God is omnipotent why does He allow evil to exist in nature, is answered in the Quran by the denial of evil in nature. Nature works according to universal laws which are rational and work for good. If sometimes their working does nor suit our personal convenience we call it evil. The problem of evil in nature is not raised by nature itself but by importing our narrow anthropomorphism and anthorpopathism into nature. Our narrow human passions and human relativity create a problem which is not raised by any contradiction in the nature of things themselves.

When the Quran says that God created man so that he may worship Him – worship in its essential significance means not verbal praise and begging for benefits, but living in accordance with the will of God. Every right action is an act of worship … If God is truth the pursuit of all truth is an act of submission of God and hence an act of worship.

Prayer is a great instrument for self-realization. Without prayer one might attain to partial well-being or gain some material and transitory benefit, but if the human spirit is not attuned to the contemplation of the Highest, the ultimate human destiny is not realized. In another place the Quran says: “Successful indeed are believers who are humble in their prayers.” (Surah 23:21).

The Muslims are called in the Quran “the nation of the middle” (Surah 2:143) It is very significant designation. Before Islam there had been great nations that had hit on great truths but they had gone to extremes in their one-sided development … The truths of these concepts were taken up by Islam and incorporated in a complete harmony with other aspects of life. We find Islam following a middle path and synthesizing all these truths. It is one of the oft-repeated theses of the Quran that all great religions of civilized humanity were essentially true but were later on perverted. We see, historically, how this perversion takes place.

Islam is a religion of complete integration. For the first time in history we see the doctrine of the development of the whole man in complete integration with himself, with society and with nature, and the whole integration based on belief in a single Creator who is the unity of all creation. Being is graded but all being is teleologically and organically related. The doctrine of THE UNITY OF HUMANITY is repeatedly presented in the Quran. “Be careful of your duty to God your Lord, who created you from a single being.” (Surah 4:1)

DR. KHALIFA ABDUL-HAKIM
Dean of Osmania University
Hyderabad

ISLAM FROM WITHIN
Anthology of a religion
Kenneth Cragg
Marston Speight

Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing Company
Year: 1980

BRETHREN IN FAITH

The Last words:

ACTION, AND CONTINUED ACTION; READ QURAN, UNDERSTAND QURAN, AND PRACTICE QURAN; ACTION, ACTION AND CONTINUED ACTION

ISLAM is the name of action. Action on the Quran, action on the tradition of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). The right action and right practice on a single verse of the Quran is sufficient to raise a nation to the heights of glory and will keep them there for centuries.

To me the Quran is the Divine Order, and it should be put to action and enforced for the benefit of mankind. To enforce these laws is the purpose of nature. This is the only Divine scripture whose one verse alone is sufficient for a nation to raise it to the heights of glory and progress for centuries. For a fallen nation it is no necessary to read the whole Quran. As the tradition of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is, the nation can read it, bit by bit, in 23 years. Act on it and continue to act and put it to practice. This is what is needed.

Allama Mushraqi says in his Al-Islah, “The life of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is the living example of the Quran in practice.”

BRETHREN IN FAITH: Remember the destruction and catastrophe befall the nation simply because of its own deeds and behavior. To save us from the forthcoming destruction and catastrophe, as indicated, we have to put Quranic words into our action and deeds and continue doing so. This is the only solution. Action is imperative and unavoidable.

Faith is the order, action is continuing
And love is the conqueror of the world,
These are the three swords to fight with
In the struggle of life.

DAWAT-UL-QURAN
Dr. Fazluddin (Ajmeri)

Publisher: Taj Company
Year: 1982

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