Gratifying State, Justness, Funny Bone
Issue 644 » July 29, 2011 - Shaban 28, 1432
Al Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 152
Can you imagine a more gratifying state than this, where when you remember Allah, the Creator, Sustainer and Lord of the Universe, He remembers you in return?
Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and reclining and who reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth are highly commended in the Noble Quran. They are wise in that they fill their hearts with the remembrance of God in every moment, in every circumstance and in every posture of their lives.
Said ibn Jubayr has said: "Whoever did not obey his Lord, did not remember Him, irrespective of how many rosaries (tasbih) he did, how much he chanted the greatness of God, and however much he recited the Quran."
Abu Uthman was asked: "Why is it that we remember Allah but do not feel its sweet effects on our hearts?" He said, "Thank Allah that He has at least inspired a member of your body to His obedience."
Alusi says: "There are three ways of realizing 'Dhikr' (remembrance). First: with the tongue, which is to say thanks, chant Allah's Glory, sing His Greatness, to recite the Quran etc. Second: with the heart (and mind) which is to think and discover the wisdom behind various obligations of Islam, to contemplate over the rewards and punishment in the Hereafter, to understand the Attributes of Allah, and unravel Divine secrets. And third: to keep every limb and joint of the body engaged in acts approved by Allah, and restrain them from prohibited acts."
The exhortation to remember Allah at all times is a reflection of Allah's all-embracing and overwhelming love for us. The door to Allah is always open to us: Remember Me and I will remember you. We need only find our way to and through that door. Strive then, to fill all your moments, all your thoughts and all your actions with Allah’s remembrance.
"In the Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, pp. 21-25
"Tafsir Ishraq Al-Ma'ani" - Syed Iqbal Zaheer, vol. 1, p. 184
The Prophet, peace be upon him, held one of his Companions, called Abu Lubabah, in great esteem, so much so that he had left him in charge of Medina when he had left for the first Badr expedition. Some time later, a young orphan came to Muhammad to complain that Abu Lubabah had taken from him a palm tree that had long been his. The Prophet summoned Abu Lubabah and asked him to explain. Investigations showed that the palm tree did belong to Abu Lubabah, and the Prophet judged in the latter's favour, greatly disappointing the young orphan. Muhammad privately asked Abu Lubabah, justice having now been rendered, to give the tree to the young orphan, for whom it was so important. Abu Lubabah adamantly refused: he had gone to such lengths to assert his right of ownership that to concede to this request was inconceivable. This obsession veiled his heart and compassion. Revelation was to recall, on both the individual and collective levels, the singular nature of the spiritual elevation that makes it possible to reach beyond the consciousness of justice, that demands right, to the excellence of the heart, that offers forgiveness or gives people more than their due: "God commands justice and excellence." [Quran 16:90]
It was not a question of giving up one's right (and Abu Lubabah had been justified in requiring it to be acknowledged); rather, it involved learning to sometimes reach beyond, for the sake of those reasons of the heart that teach the mind to forgive, to let go, and to give from oneself and from one's belongings, moved by shared humanity or love. The Prophet was saddened by the reaction of his Companion, whom he held in great esteem: he realized that Abu Lubabah's almost blind attachment to one of Islam's recommendations, justice, prevented him from reaching the superior level of justness of the heart: excellence, generosity, giving. Eventually, another Companion, Thabit ibn Dahdanah, who had witnessed the scene, offered Abu Lubabah an entire orchard in exchange for that single palm tree, which he then gave away to the young orphan. Muhammad rejoiced at that outcome and did not resent Abu Lubabah's attitude. He later entrusted Abu Lubabah with other missions.
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 133
Just laugh. That's right ... laugh. Hakuna matata! Don't worry, be happy! Sometimes life just stinks and there's not much you can do to change it, so you might as well laugh.
It's so bad that as we age we tend to forget what made childhood so magical. One study showed that by the time you reach kindergarten, you laugh about 300 times a day. In contrast, the typical adult laughs a wimpy seventeen times a day. No wonder children are so much happier! Why are we so serious? Mayby it's because we've been taught that laughing too much is childish. We must learn to laugh again.
According to Peter Doskoch, laughter:
- Loosens up the mental gears and helps us think more creatively
- Helps us cope with the difficulties of life
- Reduces stress levels
- Relaxes us as it lowers our heart rate and blood pressure
- Connects us with others and counteracts feelings of alienation, a major factor in depression and suicide
- Releases endorphin, the brain's natural painkillers
If you're not laughing much, what can you do to start again? I suggest developing your own "humour collection," a collection of books, cartoons, videos, ideas - whatever is funny to you. Then whenever you're feeling down, or taking yourself way too seriously, visit your collection.
Learn to laugh at yourself when strange or stupid things happen to you, because they will. As someone once said, "One of the best things people can have up their sleeve is a good funny bone."
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" - Sean Covey, pp. 232, 233