January 27, 2003

Back to the Basics

 

 

Whenever a person lacks motivation or the desire to do any amount of
productive work and laziness overcomes that person, usually it is a weakness in
their practice of the basic principles of Islam. So essentially, it is upon us
to find out what these principles are and what they should mean to us and how
they should define our lives. What is to follow are some basics in Islam that we
all should be aware of and it is a perfect opportunity to review or correct any
practices which may be missing in our lives, insha Allah.

Often we long for the spiritual power and strength that the Sahabas and the
early generation Muslims were known to have but without us having to do much
work to achieve that level. We want to just wake up one day and have this drive
instilled in us magically somehow. What we fail to realize is that their success
did not come from their numbers but from their intellectual comprehension of
Allah.

The key is Tauhid, understanding Allah and being conscious of Allah?s supreme
presence. It may be a simple concept, yet it is a very powerful and profound
statement. But Tauhid has increasingly been ignored, even though there has been
a huge influx of lectures, high-level conferences and workshops.

Let us look back to the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and we
realize that 13 years out of the 23 years of his Prophetic mission were spent
developing this very concept of Tauhid among the people of the Arabian
subcontinent. This is an exasperating number, the percentage spent on dealing
with this aspect yet we totally ignore this most important concept. After all,
Tauhid is the first pillar of Islam and therefore one of the most important
aspects of Islam by far, initially. For it was known that, one who did
not truly and correctly understand Allah, could not, truly and correctly serve
Allah.

There is much to understand but it is essential to know whether we understand
this concept of Tauhid or we just say we do. To believe in Allah and know that
Allah is our creator is not enough! Even the pagan Arabs in Pre-Islamic times
knew this fact. What Tauhid entails is that we obey Allah, and acknowledge that
He is the only one worthy of worship. That we obey Allah out of fear and love
and hence work hard to avoid displeasing Allah. And we fear only Allah and seek
all help from Him.

So we must first educate ourselves about Tauhid, this most important first
step in changing our lives, and begin understanding the attached implications of
the kalima. By knowing whom we obey and serve, we can definitely increase the
productivity in our lives insha Allah.

Once we know and understand whom we worship, then there is the actual process
of worshipping our Creator and the Creator of the heavens and the Earth and
everything that exists today. This is where Salah comes into play. If we are no
longer motivated in our lives and we are stagnating then we must question
ourselves, what may by causing this? Are we praying the 5 daily Salah? Are we
praying in the proper and prescribed way? Is our prayer even benefiting us?

Without this connection to our lord our lives will remain dull and stagnant.
By establishing Salah, this worship helps to open up our hearts and drives off
Satan and all that accompanies such as laziness. Salah gets us on a schedule, as
there are certain times for specific prayers. Praying Salah requires dedication
that we get up out of our warm beds to make Wudhu and perform Salah in the early
hours. This same dedication will then further pass into our lives and make any
and all work for Allah productive. We must establish Salah to be successful.
Further readings are available at href=”http://www.youngmuslims.ca/publications/salat.pdf”>http://www.youngmuslims.ca/publications/salat.pdf
which gives a few tips on improving our Salah.

Quran is also of great benefit and of Importance. There must be regular
recitation and understanding of Quran with Tafsir. We must make use of this
great book, which deals with all aspects of our lives.

The reader must have the right attitude and mindset before even approaching
the Quran. The Quran must be approached with a sincere intention of seeking
guidance from it. Not to to win an argument, not just to seek blessings nor even
to appear religious in front of others. The intention must be correct and
sincere! Information may be found by anyone, but Guidance is only given
to those who are actively seeking guidance.

Other steps towards approaching the Quran are to free the mind from clutter
before even opening it. The Quran must be approached with an open mind and the
sincere and proper intention. Make sure that you have a proper translation and
well-known Tafseer, which you are able to follow. And make Dua (Supplication)
and pray to Allah for his Guidance. It is a book of reflection and hence
it should be studied with the presence of mind and heart.

A small point concerning the friends that we keep is also of utmost
importance in keeping ourselves motivated. Be careful of who you keep as your
friends! This does not mean that you stop associating with everybody who is not
up to a certain standard. Have acquaintances among coworkers and classmates but
select close friends only from those who will have a good impact on you. Friends
will have an effect on you, so choose them wisely. You must question whether you
are around the right type of people all the time. The wrong type will undo all
the learning and training that you have undertaken. You can be pressured into
joining a group of friends who may be committing sinful actions. And hence
having such type of friends is definitely a cause of stagnation. So we should
try to stick close to those who have a good effect on us and those that we know
to be close to Islam and those that stay away from and prohibit evil.

The final area to stress involves everyday life and living in our current
society.

It is more specifically the Evils of Society, which we must avoid, in order
to be successful in every aspect of our lives. We all know the effects of
alcohol and drugs on the human body physically and psychologically. Intoxicants
put users in a state, where they don?t know right from wrong. You may end up
doing something that which you may regret later. Most importantly consuming
intoxicants is haraam in any way shape or form, no matter how little.
?The bad effects in it is much greater than the good in
it.?

Mixing with the opposite sex for no proper reason is also disallowed in
Islam. When we don?t need to be talking to the opposite gender for any genuine
reason then we shouldn?t. Looking at and talking to a person of opposite gender
who is not a mahram, without due cause is not allowed. When there is a need for
it then it is allowed, when the proper rules of Islam are followed of course. If
there are no rules followed such as lowering the gaze then there is a chance of
desire arising between the two people. ?Tell the believers to lower
their gaze?
? Quran 24:30.

?You should guard your sight and protect your dignity or Allah will
cover your face with humiliation”
? hadith Tabrani

?It is better for you to be struck in the head with a pick than to
touch the hand of an unauthorized woman.?
? hadith

Pornography is another evil that causes much chaos within a person. It
weakens the heart as well as the mind. It causes hidden desires to arise. This
goes hand in hand with the paragraph directly above. You are not allowed to look
at opposite genders whether in the flesh or in pictures etc. The same goes with
people of the same gender who are inappropriately dressed. For more information
and tips, check out the articles on
target=_blank>Soundvision.com. Remember, a Weak heart cannot do the work of
Islam and will not be constant in the remembrance of
Allah.

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