Howness of God, Cleaning Qalb, Minimum Living Standard
Issue 1060 » July 19, 2019 - Dhul Qadah 16, 1440
Howness of God
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 78 (partial)
In this verse, the attribute of unletteredness is a censure of the estranged and a mark of their shortcoming. In the verse where God says, "Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet" [7:157], it is a praise of Mustafa and a mark of his perfection. This alludes to the fact that having the same name does not mean being of the same kind. The congruence of names does not require the congruence of meanings. The position of the Folk of the Sunnah in affirming the attributes of the Real was established according to this rule: the agreement of one name with another does not bring about the agreement of meanings. God has attributes and descriptions fitting for Godhood, and creatures are far from that. Created things have created attributes, and God is pure of that. Do you not see that "exalted" is a name of God, and He called Joseph exalted [12:78]? God's exaltedness is worthy of Him and the created thing's exaltedness is worthy of it.
By the agreement of the Muslims and the attestation of most of the unbelievers, God is existent and the creatures are existent. But, the creatures exist by God's existence-giving, and God exists by His own abidance and His own being and subsistence. The Muslims agree that God is alive, and there are many living things among the created. The created thing is alive through breath and through appropriate and timely nourishment, but God is alive through His life and subsistence and through His firstness and lastness—without when, how many, or how. All the opponents of the Folk of the Sunnah say that God is maker and the created thing maker. But the created thing is maker through artifice, instrument, striving, and measure, and God is maker through power and wisdom—whatever He wants, as He wants, and whenever He wants.
There are many similar things in the Quran. In short, God knows how He is, and He is just as He said He is, but the servant is incapable of knowing His howness. What God said about Himself should be accepted from the eyeteeth and assented to from the depth of the spirit. When someone fancies that having the same meaning is to be of the same kind, that is to go by the road of the roadless, and it is nothing but rebellion. Hoping to grasp God by imagination and seeking is absurd, and everything gained in this way will be faulty. Safety in the religion lies in accepting the message, approving of him who conveyed it, bowing the head, and putting aside seeking.
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi, pp. 34, 35
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said that hearts get rusted in the same way that iron rusts when it is wet. He further stated that when man sins a dark spot appears on the qalb. And when he does not repent or relent and continues to sin, another dark spot covers the qalb until finally the entire qalb is rusted and turns black. When the people asked the Prophet about the cure and the method to clean the qalb, he said, "Frequent remembrance of death and recitation of the Quran.".[Bayhaqi]
Accordingly, one must often remember death and the eventual meeting with Allah on the Day of Judgment; and a person must regularly recite the Quran. It is these things which cure a defective qalb, remove its rust, and cleanse its blackness. That is when it starts to glow. The nur (light) of iman (faith) is reborn within it and the whole life is rejuvenated. When the link between the qalb and Allah is established and the qalb starts to resonate with the remembrance of Allah, then the qalb will be set on the right path.
"A Righteous Heart: The Axis of One's Deeds" - Khurram Murad
Minimum Living Standard
The goal of Islam is not to eliminate riches but to eliminate misery. What is misery? It is a shortage of the things which are indispensable for a normal life, having less than the necessary minimum for life, being below "the minimum living standard.'' "The minimum living standard" is a natural and historical category and represents the sum of goods that is necessary for a man and his family to satisfy their physical and social needs. It follows that society is not bound to reduce everyone to the same level, but first of all to give every man the said minimum standard. Islamic social measures are limited to the elimination of misery and do not extend to the equalization of property, the moral and economic justification of which is dubious.
Every settled society, in addition to moral and humane criteria, rules by the imperative of survival. Islamic society, to be so, must be maximally humane and maximally efficient. It is not Islamic if humane regards threaten its stability, and vice versa, if exaggerated emphasis on aspiration to efficiency and power allow the violation of the essential principles of freedom, human rights, and humanism. The constitution of an Islamic society is determined by the coalescence of these two opposite conditions.
"Islam Between East and West" - Alija Ali Izetbegovic, p. 207