Record of Accounts, Quality of Worship, Remedy for Sadness
Issue 977 » December 15, 2017 - Rabi-al-Awwal 27, 1439
Living The Quran
Record of Accounts
Al-Haqqah (The Inevitable Truth) Sura 69: Verses 19-24
"He who is given his record in his right hand will say, 'Come you all! Read this my record, I certainly knew that one day I would have to face my account.' He will be in a happy state of life, in a lofty garden, with its fruits within easy reach. 'Eat and drink to your heart's content as a reward for what you have done in days gone by.'"
Taking one's record with one's right or left hand, or behind one's back may be a statement expressing a material fact, or it may be an idiomatic expression following standard rules of Arabic as it refers to the good direction as the right and the evil one as the left or the back. Whichever may be the case, the meaning remains the same. What we see here is a person who is given his record and realizes that he has won. The hardship of the day is gone, and he moves along, overjoyed, among the great multitude. In his overwhelming delight, he says that he never thought that he would be spared. He expected to have to account for his deeds, and that means suffering.
The details of blessings made ready for such people are then announced for all. The account given here of these blessings includes some aspects of material comfort. This suited the state of those addressed by the Quran at the time. They were still newcomers to Islam; it had not yet given its distinctive hue to their feelings, nor had they had the chance to appreciate luxuries higher than any material comfort. Yet this type of blessing can satisfy the needs of many people across many generations.
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 17, pp. 224-226
Understanding The Prophet's Life
Quality of Worship
A believer who worships continuously may feel weary at some point. God, out of His mercy, knows that we humans could naturally feel weary, even in worship. Therefore, He diversified the acts of worship so that we can worship God in a variety of ways.
For example, prayer is a fixed act of worship that must be performed five times a day. But God recommended other forms of supererogatory prayers, such as the late-night prayer, the prayer of thankfulness, and prayer in times of need, and so forth. If the believer is weary from (optional) prayers, he may perform the obligatory prayers only, but at the same time, he may involve himself in other forms of worship, such as charity, performing umra, seeking knowledge, being kind to neighbours and relatives, helping people, and so forth. All these are forms of worship that draw one closer to God.
People are different, and diversity is a universal law of God. Diversity is not limited to natural capabilities only, but there is diversity in one's ability to keep up with certain actions and enjoy them. In His infinite knowledge, God prohibited some acts of worship at certain times. The Prophet said: "Surely this religion is firm. So apply it with tenderness. The traveller who is too harsh on his riding animal will not reach his destination and the riding animal will die" [Bayhaqi]. This is why the Prophet recommended that we do not pray right after the sunrise, right before noon time, or in the late afternoon after the asr prayer. The wisdom behind not praying any recommended prayer in these times is to make us eager to perform them when we are allowed. The same applies to fasting. We are not permitted to fast at certain times, for example, immediately before the beginning of Ramadan or on the first day of Eid.
When God opens for you the door of reading the Quran, you may wish to read it all the time. But we are not allowed to read the Quran while kneeling down or prostrating in prayer, in the bathroom, or while we are in a state of impurity. Because God knows our nature, He diversified the acts of worship and prohibited them at certain times.
Then, when God guides you to perform an act of worship, perfect it and ascend in the levels of quality of worship.
"A Journey to God: Reflections on the Hikam of Ibn Ataillah" - Jasser Auda
Remedy for Sadness
Sadness is of two distinct types. The first type is the one that has a clearly identifiable cause such as the death of a beloved relative or the loss of wealth or something that the person greatly values. The second type has no obvious cause. It is a sudden distress and gloom that descends over the affected person preventing him, most of the time, from the exuberance of activity and the enjoyment of the usual pleasures of this world. The person afflicted is generally unaware of any clear reason for his dejection.
The causes behind the latter type of sadness or depression for which there is no known reason are related to bodily symptoms such as the impurity of the blood, its coolness and the changes in its contents. The treatment for this symptom is physical and psychological. As for the physical, it concentrates on purifying the blood, increasing its temperature and making it lighter. The psychological is limited to gentle encouraging talk that brings back some happiness as well as listening to music and songs and similar activities that emotionally give warmth to the gloomy.
One of the thought mechanisms to treat the sadness or depression that has a known reason i.e. loss of a loved relative or inability to obtain something one desperately wants is to weigh up the excessive bodily harm that continued sadness and depression can cause to one's body with the urge to mourn over his loss. Logical thinking would convince the person in question that his bodily health should be the most beloved thing to him. He should not accept to trade it in for any sum of money or relatives. The fact that a person feels sad and depressed for presumed loss is actually because he loves his body and soul and wants to please himself with what he failed to obtain or to stop the loss from happening. Destroying his health in agony over what has been lost, would be akin to someone selling out his capital to gain some little profit.
Another maneuver is for one to understand and realize that life in this world, by its very nature, is not the abode of perpetual joy and happiness, nor the abode of avoiding any loss of loved ones or sought after desires. One should look around to see if anyone has been spared such losses and bereavements. None will be found. If this is the way of things then one should deeply convince oneself that all the pleasures one obtains in life are but an additional gift that should be enjoyed with delight and that the losses one suffers and (those things) which one is unable to attain should not cause one much sorrow and bereavement.
A further mental approach is to realize that any hardship or damaging loss that besets one is similar or even less severe than the predicaments other people have suffered or are now suffering from. It is one of the characteristics of human nature to find solace in one's hardship when one discovers that it is shared by many other people. Furthermore, one should always remember that incidents that cause people to feel sad or to grieve are part of the engraved nature of this life.
Finally, by surveying one's own as well as other's experiences, one will come to the realization that all incidents of sorrow and grief are destined to be forgotten and that with the passing of days the agony would certainly diminish. One must take cognizance of the fact that the most saddening moment of an incident is its inception and that the days that come after will certainly reduce its painful effects until it is gradually pushed into forgetfulness. This kind of mental maneuver is bound to bring about a quick feeling of comfort or even happiness and pleasure.
"Abu Zayd al-Balkhi's Sustenance of the Soul: the Cognitive Behavior Therapy of a Ninth Century Physician" - Malik Badri, pp. 48-52