Commitment to God in misery and in well-being – Part (I)

Part 1

By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

Edited by: Manal Samhat

Those who pray are neither terrified in evil times nor restrained in times of giving, simply because whoever lives in God and for God should never live any moment of hopelessness, despair or fear. This person should not fail, give up or even be greedy. As part of our discourse on the meaning of stability in Islam; stability in the person’s relationship with his God, we confirm that there should be a spiritual attachment with God in times of distress, as well as in times of happiness for the law of monotheism says: “What good you have is from Allah” (16:53).

We should understand that it is due to the laws, which God has set, that everything moves, but just as He blessed us with health, He blessed us with pain too. It should be clearly understood that it is God Who blessed us with safety and fear, richness and poverty and with all the advantages and disadvantages of life. You should believe that it is God Who also facilitates things for you so that you can achieve your ambitions.

Indeed, God destines everything. Therefore, man should realize this fact and train himself to be in permanent attachment with his Creator. He should realize that he needs to remember God in all his deeds. God has the power to deny man his happiness whenever He wishes, in the same way that He has the power to provide him with relief in times of distress.

In the Holy Quran, we observe that God wants man to feel the greatness of creation in this vast and limitless universe. Man is advised not to take all the natural phenomena as ordinary events, which he got used to. On the contrary, man should be thoughtful, contemplating, and grateful to whatever is around him. He has to think about the greatness of things even in times of loss. I mean here that man should return everything to God’s will. For instance, the creation of the days and nights should not be taken as ordinary natural phenomena simply because man is familiar with them. They should show God’s greatness in His creation: “Think! If Allah should enshroud you in perpetual nights till the Day of Resurrection, what other god could give you light! Will you not hear?” (28:71). Accordingly, to think about the greatness of alternating days and nights, you have just to imagine life without either any of them: “Say: Think of Allah should give you perpetual day until the Resurrection, what other god could bring you the night to sleep in? Will you not see?” (28:72).

Then, think about those whom you consider your gods; could they bring or create you the days or the nights, which you have lost? And which are necessary for your life? “In His mercy he has given you the night that you rest in it, and the day that you may seek His bounty and render thanks?” (28:73). God, indeed, blesses man with these two natural phenomena, just as He blessed us with many other ones, through which man could realize that it is God Who created everything, and that He creates things for man’s benefit. Thus, man needs just to have a look around and contemplate “and may seek His bounty and render thanks” (28:73).

God appears in the greatness of His creation. In Al-Waqi’ah Surah, God urges us to contemplate and to think about His creation. He reminds us of the sperm that produces humans; of the plants and fruits of different colors, shapes, and tastes, and the fire which we put on. I ask you, who of you thinks about Allah when he plants or when he is indulged in his sensual pleasures? We do not conceive such greatness in ordinary events, because we got used to them. Therefore, God reminds us that “We created you: will you not believe?” (56:57). Have you ever thought that Allah is the Creator of your existence and that of the world, which you are enjoying? “Behold the semen you emit” (56:58). Have you ever thought of the sperm and of the greatness of its transformation into a human being? “Did you create it, or did We?” Who has the power of transforming your blood into sperm and then into humans? Is it you? It is God’s will? “It was We that ordained death among you”. Allah gives you life and it is He Who takes it back. Death should not be taken as an ordinary event. God created us with a well-organized system in our bodies that functions properly. However, once this system functions improperly, then it is God’s will that has determined everything “Nothing can hinder Us from replacing you by others like yourselves or transforming you into beings you know nothing of” (56:60-61).

You have surely known of the first creation” (56:62). Of course you know Who gave you life. “Why then do you not reflect?” (56: 62) “Consider the seeds you grow. Is it you that give them growth or We?” (56:63). Who made the seeds grow into plants, which you think is due to your efforts? You have just planted the seed, watered it, and cared for it. Have you ever asked who made that seed alive and how is the seed transformed into seven spikes, which, at the same time, include hundreds? Who has made the earth a womb similar to the woman’s womb that embraces the semen? Who gave earth the quality of having a womb that embraces the seed and donates it with the elements of growth, reproduction and freshness? Who has given the seed you planted the ability to live and to grow; is it you?! The answer is no. You have just taken the seed, which is created by God and put it in the earth that is full of secrets. You are just talented in the art of farming; a talent that God granted you while God created the laws that govern its growing: “If We pleased We could turn your harvest into chaff” (56:65); which means that God is able to ruin them all: “So that, filled with wonderment, (you would exclaim): We are laden with debts! Surely we are deprived” (56:65); otherwise, you would be leading a life filled with hopelessness, poverty, and despair, if it were not to God.

Generally speaking, I ask you all: who among you thinks of God, while drinking water? Whoever thinks of God, the Creator and the Source of this water? We are just accustomed to saying “Thanks God”. What we need, dear loved ones, is to live a state of contemplation with God while drinking water. You need to “see” God in this water. Indeed, we are not living such states: “Consider the water which you drink, was it you that brought it down from the cloud or We?! Have you ever thought of the secrets and the laws that cause rain? If we wished, we could make it salty” (56:64-68). God has made the sea salty, and He could make all your water salty: “Why then do you not give thanks?” (56:70). Why do you not thank God for the abundance He has granted you? God has facilitated things for you, so be grateful and thankful at the same time.

Now, we turn to the meaning of fire. What about the trees that give you the wood which is apt to burning? “Observe the fire which you light. Is it you that create its wood, or We?” (56:71-72). Who has created the tree and made its wood combustible?! Indeed, dear loved ones, the Holy Quran aims at making us live with God and for God in all our times, in distress as well as in happiness. We have to think about what might have happened had we been prevented from all these blessings around us. Could anybody give them back to us? We conclude that it is not philosophy that leads us to monotheism, but we are monotheists due to certain expressions, customs and behaviors we get used to throughout our lives. “We have it a reminder for man, and a comfort for the wayfarer of the desert, praise them the name of your Lord, the Supreme One” (56:74-75).

 

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