That Which Gives You Life

THAT WHICH GIVES YOU LIFE

Esteemed brothers and sisters,

The first verse recited was the 186th verse of the Qur’anic chapter al-Baqara. Here, our Lord says to the Messenger of Allah:

“And when (O Messenger) My servants ask you about Me, then surely I am near: I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he prays to Me…” In response, Allah Almighty declares: “…So let them respond to My call (without hesitation)…” Let them lead their lives in accordance with the Qur’an and the Prophet’s practice, “…so that they may be guided to spiritual and intellectual excellence and right conduct.” (2:186) So that they may be rightly guided…

Allah Almighty wills for His servant’s nearness to Him in return for His nearness to His servant. And this means leading a life in accordance with His Book.

The second one was the 24th verse of the Qur’anic chapter al-Anfal. Here, Allah Almighty, declares:

“O you who believe! Respond to Allah and to the Messenger when the Messenger calls you (in the Name of God) to that which gives you life…” This means that this will give you life; happiness and peace of mind, peace of mind in the world, peace of mind in the grave, peace of mind in the Hereafter and eternal peace…

“…Respond to Allah and to the Messenger when the Messenger calls you…” There is no gap. Our lives are to continue in accordance with the Book and the Prophetic Practice. “…and know well that surely Allah ‘intervenes’ between a person and his heart (to cause his heart to swerve); and that He it is to Whom you will be gathered.” (8:24)

That is to say, we conceal our emotions within us. No one is aware of our emotions. But Allah is aware of them. These are known to Allah. This means that our feelings are manifest to Allah Almighty. We cannot hide them. This means that we need to compose our emotions, to correct them and to straighten them.

Allah Almighty declares:

wanaḥnu aqrabu ilayhi min ḥabli l-warīd

“…We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” (50:16)

Our Lord tells us that He is closer to us than our jugular vein.

Similarly:

wahuwa maʿakum ayna mā kuntum

“…And He is with you, wherever you may be…” (See 57:4)

In other words, Allah Almighty is above and beyond space and time. All time and space belong to Him. He is present in every time and space. He is right beside human beings, animals, all living creatures, plants, inanimate beings – all of them at the same time. This is there is no time and space (for Him); Allah is transcendent, glorified and exalted be He.

In this case, one’s inner world, the world of their heart needs to reach a certain consistency. One’s feelings (towards Allah Almighty) need to be purified first.

The third verse recited is from the Qur’anic chapter as-Saffaat. How did Prophet Abraham, upon him be peace, become a friend to Allah Almighty? He became a friend with his wealth and so came about the blessing of Abraham, the Friend of Allah. He gave and Allah Almighty gave much more to him.

Secondly:

He gave his life. (For) the protection of belief in Divine Unity and Oneness. He was willing to be thrown into the fire of Nimrod in order to protect belief in God’s Oneness. Allah Almighty added life to his life. He became the second greatest Prophet. He sacrificed his life. Allah gave him life in return for his sacrifice.

In the verse recited, Allah Almighty states:

(See 37:108) We send salutations and greetings of peace to Prophet Abraham, upon him be peace, in every sitting of the prescribed prayer, prior to ending the prayer. Allah Almighty does not allow him to be forgotten. He does not allow for His friend to be forgotten.

Thirdly:

Allah gave him a son. Prophet Abraham, upon him be peace, said:

“If you grant me a son, I will sacrifice him for You, O Lord!”

Then came three warnings. The first warning, wondering whether or not it was from God, and then after the third warning, he took his son Ishmael, upon him be peace, to the place where pilgrims today offer their animals in sacrifice. They said their goodbyes. I will read the Qur’anic verse. Both of them well pleased with each other.

“Let us meet again on the Day of Judgement,” they said.

His son even said, “Father, blindfold me for you will not be able to strike my neck due to your feelings of compassion.”

It was right at this point where Allah Almighty, thirdly, sent a great reward, a ram.

“Peace be upon Abraham,” (37:109) He declared.

“This was indeed a trial, clear.” (See 37:106)

“Peace be upon Abraham,” He said. (See 37:109)

That is to say, three thrones were destroyed at the level of the carnal self: wealth and possessions, life and offspring. The friendship of Allah Almighty became manifest upon that throne. Thus did Prophet Abraham, upon him be peace, become an intimate friend.

Allah Almighty makes known this event in the Qur’anic verse that was recited to us:

“So We gave him the glad tidings of a boy (who was to grow as one) mild and forbearing. Then, when (his son) grew alongside him to the age of striving (for the necessities of life), he said: ‘O my dear son! I have seen in my dream that I should offer you in sacrifice. So think about this and tell me your view!’ He said (unhesitatingly):

‘O my dear father! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, by God’s will, one of those who show steadfast patience (in obeying God’s commands).’ [He was an ocean of trust in and submission to Allah.] Then when both had submitted to Allah’s will, and Abraham had laid him down on the side of his forehead, (At just that moment,) We called out to him: ‘O Abraham! You have already fulfilled the dream (which tested your loyal obedience to the command; so you no longer have to offer your son in sacrifice.) Thus do We reward those devoted to doing good as if seeing God.’ Behold, all this was indeed a trial, clear. [A part of him which was to continue, his son.] And We ransomed him with a sacrifice tremendous in worth. And We left for him among later-comers (until the end of time this greeting and remembrance of him and his Message): ‘Peace be upon Abraham.’ Thus do We reward those devoted to doing good as if seeing God. Surely he was one of Our truly believing servants.” (37:101-111)

Allah Almighty, our Lord Who created us. He constantly guides us with His Messengers, His Books and through this realm of trial. Allah Almighty invites us to be a friend to Him.

The noble Companions were friends to the Messenger of Allah. Each of them became stars in the skies of guidance so as to resemble the Messenger of Allah. We, too, must reflect in this way:

To what extent can we attain His matchless behaviour, his pure morality and his generosity kneaded with mercy and compassion? So that we may, in turn, become worthy of Divine forgiveness and pardon.

The noble Companions were the first students of the Messenger who were closest to him. They held up as their example his generous spending in the way of Allah and his life of worship, which he realised with devoted reverence and humility. This means that there must be more familiarity in our hearts than ever before.

Firstly, there must be togetherness with Allah Almighty. It is Allah Almighty Who grants the greatest happiness, Who grants friendship. And the greatest happiness lies in togetherness with Allah Almighty.

This is why our Lord declares:

alā bidhik’ri l-lahi taṭma-innu l-qulūb

“…Be aware that it is in the remembrance and of and whole-hearted devotion to Allah that hearts find rest and contentment.” (13:28)

Hearts can only find rest with Allah Almighty. Hearts become adorned with the morality of the Qur’an. There have to be phases traversed in the heart in order to become a friend of Allah. One cannot be a friend merely by saying, “I am a friend.”

Allah Almighty declares:

fa-alhamahā fujūrahā wataqwāhā qad aflaḥa man zakkāhā

“And Who has inspired it with the conscience of what is wrong and bad for it, and what is right and good for it – He is indeed prosperous who has grown it in purity (away from self-aggrandizing rebellion against God).” (91:8-9) Everything that pulls one away from Allah will be erased from the heart and the heart will be favoured with manifestation of Allah Almighty’s attributes of beauty.

Belief begins first with “lā ilāha” (There is no deity). In other words, with “kha“, with “takhalliyy.” The heart is to be emptied of egocentrism. There is to be no, “Me!” Only, “O Lord! You!” There is to be no injustice in our lives. Others should not have any rights over us. There should be no lack of mercy and compassion. Sedition, backbiting, gossip, pride, falsehood, ambition, envy, miserliness, wastefulness, slander, impropriety must be erased from the heart for the heart to be favoured by Allah Almighty.

To replace those that leave – that are purged with lā ilāha – will be illa-llāh – the pleasure of belief will be experienced in the heart. The servant will live with the joy of belief. All other pleasures will be lost. The greatest pleasure will be belief. Compassion and mercy will reach their zenith.

The believer is to be humble. The humble person is generous. The humble person will be a person of service.

The believer is to be truthful, trustworthy and the most honest of all human beings. They are to represent Islam with their character and person.

There has to be grace, refinement, courtesy, sensitivity and forgiveness.

In addition, there must be self-possession, humility, delicacy, patience, propriety, a sense of shame and concerning oneself with the troubles of the Muslim community.

As a result, the heart will be favoured with certain manifestations. That is to say, in order to attain this bounty, there is to be a tender heart, profundity of emotion, wondrous spiritual journeying and a spiritual reflection. The heart will forever find peace and repose with remembrance of Allah, love of Allah, intimate knowledge of Allah.

alā bidhik’ri l-lahi taṭma-innu l-qulūb

“…Be aware that it is in the remembrance and of and whole-hearted devotion to Allah that hearts find rest and contentment.” (13:28)

The heart will attain togetherness with Allah Almighty. This means that this heart will deepen in this way.

Osman Nuri Topbas

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