Material and Spiritual, Great Forgiveness, Usefulness of Morality
Issue 950 » June 9, 2017 - Ramadan 14, 1438
Material and Spiritual
Al Qasas (The Narration) Sura 28: Verse 77 (partial)
At a time when some people lived in monasteries and others drowned in luxury, Prophet Muhammad came with the above Quranic instruction. All Prophets came to establish balance between the material and spiritual life, reason and soul, this world and the next, and indulgence and abstinence. While we should declare all that God has bestowed on us to show our gratitude and due praise for Him, we must not forget that we will have to account for every good we enjoy. The Prophet inculcated this principle so deeply in his Companions' hearts that it could be seen in every aspect of their lives. Most Companions lived a balanced life, despite the fact that they had every chance to live in comfort.
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, p. 29
Forgiveness means that Allah covers one's faults, removes one's sins and does not punish the person in the Hereafter. One of the most important things that a person can ask of Allah - after asking to be guided to the truth - is to ask forgiveness for one's sins and related matters, such as being rescued from the Fire and being entered into Paradise. This is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself said that his supplications were all about. [Abu Dawud]
The Messenger of Allah stated in a Hadith, "A slave committed a sin and said, 'O Allah, I have committed a sin, so forgive me.' Allah said, 'My slave knows he has a Cherisher who forgives sins. Therefore, I have forgiven my slave.'" [Bukhari] If every time he commits a sin he feels remorse and turns to Allah to forgive him, without having the intention to continue performing that sin, Allah, the exalted will be willing to forgive him. Such is the great forgiveness of Allah and His pleasure with His servants when they seek His forgiveness.
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, p. 1312
Usefulness of Morality
Morality is not profitable in the common sense of the word. Can we say that the maxim "Women and children first!" is useful from the social point of view? Is it useful to do justice and to tell the truth? We can imagine numerous situations in which injustice or falsehood are profitable. For example, religious, political, racial, and national tolerance are not useful in the usual sense of the word. To destroy the adversaries is more profitable from the pure rationalistic point of view. Tolerance, if it exists, is not practiced out of interest but out of principle, out of humanity, out of that "aimlessly purposeful" reason. The protection of the old and decrepit, or the care of the handicapped or the incurable patient is not useful. Morals cannot be subjected to the standards of usefulness. The fact that moral behavior is sometimes useful does not mean that something has become moral because it has proved useful in a certain period of human experience. On the contrary, such coincidences are very rare. Optimistic belief in the harmony of honesty and usefulness has proved naive and even harmful. It has a destructive effect on people, for they are continually witnessing the opposite. A truly righteous man is one who accepts sacrifice and who, when facing the inevitable temptation, will remain true to his principles rather than his interests. If virtue were profitable, all intelligent crooks would hurry to become examples of virtue.
"Islam Between East and West" - Alija Ali Izetbegovic, p. 128