By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Edited by: Manal Samhat
The Holy Quran confirms that man’s knowledge of God is a result of his fear and distress. Man prays and asks for God’s help in such miserable states. However, if man’s distress is relieved, he will immediately forget not only what he has gone through but also his God. This state reminds us of the materialists’ law. The materialists believe that man’s fragility, fear and ignorance of the mysteries that surround him are behind his attachment to God.
They argue that once man discovers and finds answers to all the secrets of life, he will neither need God nor know Him. Of course, this is wrong, since it is God Who associated the effects with their causes, and it is God Who laid the law of causality in the universe. Allah assures in all His Ayahs that there is a law, a secret, reasonableness, a philosophy and a reason for every phenomenon. He has motivated us to discover all His secrets so that we would think about the source of these causes and about who might have created such laws and their causality. Our inquiries would have been endless had we not realized that God is the essence of everything. Allah is not only the essence of our existence and the universe’s, but He is also the interpreter of the meaning of this existence.
Yet, if we do not believe in God, we will never understand the meaning of our existence; since it is understood through the existence of God. As a matter of fact, since man is susceptible to forgetfulness once he is no longer distressed, and since man easily follows the path of deviation the moment he is relieved, “when misfortunes befalls man, he prays to us lying on his side, sitting or standing. But as soon as we relieve his affliction, he pursues his former ways, as though he never prayed for our help”. God reminds and warns him of the greatest danger in this Ayah: “Thus their foul deeds seem fair to the transgressors” (10:122).
God warns man against his deceitful plans and reminds him of his power in managing and controlling everything: “And if We show mercy to a people after some misfortune has affiliated them, then they begin to scheme against our revelation say: more swift is Allah’s scheming” (10:65). Most importantly, God reminds man of the Doomsday; a day when man is resurrected to witness his own deeds, and to be either rewarded or punished. Nevertheless, man should not forget that his Creator is Merciful and Just. Imam Zein Al-Abideen (a.s.) assures this in his saying: “I have realized that You are just in Your rule and that You are patient in Your punishment, but haste he is whosoever fears death”. Since death is inevitable, then there is no escape: “And when the agony of death justly overtakes him” (50:19). On that day of resurrection, the believers are separated from the disbelievers: “Our messengers are recording what you scheme” (16:21-22).
Furthermore, the Quranic Ayahs: “It is He who guides you by land and sea until when you are in ships, and they sail with a favorable wind and they rejoice. Then comes, a violent wind which overtakes them and billows surge upon them from every side and they fear that they are being overwhelmed” (10:22-23) describe how a blessing turns out to be an indignation, and how man yields and asks for God’s rescue. Moreover, they describe how man behaves whenever he feels that his demands are achieved. Some immediately follow the path of deviation, believing that it is the right path; while other feels proud of themselves thinking that it is due to the power they discovered in themselves: “Whatever good you have is from Allah and to Him you turn for help when misfortunes befalls you” (16:53).
Man ought to be grateful to his Creator. Some people are characterized with such evil qualities that they are ungrateful to God in all their deeds: “Yet no sooner does He remove your ills than some of you setup other gods besides Him giving no thanks for what We grant them” (16:54). In addition, the Holy Quran confirms that man is instinctually a believer in God. He asks His followers about their feelings and thoughts, if the latter face a shipwreck and death becomes inevitable, and the followers assured that all their thoughts and hopes will be directed to one savior; to God: “When at sea a misfortune befalls you, all but He of those to whom you pray forsake you; Yet when He brings you safe to dry land, you turn your backs upon Him Truly man is ever thankless” (17:67).
Here, we raise a question: Why are the worshippers excluded? “Indeed man was created impatient when evil befalls him, he is despondent, but blessed with good fortune he grows niggardly, not so the worshippers” (70:19-22). It is because praying makes you open up to God with your whole soul and spirit. And when you say: “Allah is great”, you feel that everything is small compared to Allah. Similarly, when you say that there is no god but Allah, you feel that all other gods that people assume fall. Furthermore, when the worshipper says “Praise be to Allah Lord of the worlds; Master of the Day of Judgment! You alone we Worship” (1:4), he is worshipping one God.
In all the deeds and gestures while praying, man confesses his total belief in God. Consequently, he will neither yield to any evil deed nor prevent any good deed: “As for man, when his Lord treats him by exalting him and bestowing favors on him, he says: My Lord is bountiful to me” (89:15). Thus, the worshippers are characterized with their thankfulness when they are blessed, but they feel humiliated when they are tested: “But when He tests him by restricting his subsistence he says: My lord humiliates me” (89:15). Indeed, when God gave him money; He aimed at afflicting and testing him. God tries man to check whether he is patient or impatient, grateful or ungrateful: “And those who after they have been oppressed… We will provide them with a good abode in this life” (16:40). Besides, God aims at testing whether man is going to exploit his wealth in what pleases God or in what displeases Him.
Dear loved ones, in the end, you should keep in mind that there are people who are not consistent in their belief. They worship God as long as they are away from experiences and sufferings. They do not steal because they do not need to; they are not deviated because they had no chance to; however, once they are tested, they immediately fall and stumble. They are shaken by the wind of temptations. Such people are shallow in their belief. There is no depth and stability “do men think that once they say: we are believers, they will be left alone and not be tried?” (29:1-2).
Dear loved ones, we have to ask God to rescue us from the evil of disbelief and to empower us with the strong belief; a belief that is unshakeable in front of any worldly experience: “we tested those who have gone before them, Allah Knows those who are truthful and those who are lying” (29:3). Dear loved ones, the true belief is the belief that faces and confronts all life challenges, so be stable in your relation with God and in your belief in God in all your deeds.