Monday, February 12, 2007

Declare your faith; live by it

From the Daily Star via Mind, Body, Soul.

In the name of Allah , the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful:

A person who counts himself among obedient servants of the Lord must testify to faith in the One God and to acceptance of his prophet (Muhammad, Jesus or Moses, peace be upon them all, depending on the religion one follows sincerely). That person must live according to that faith, and go out from the world with faith in hisheart. He protects faith by renewing it daily.

The Creator plants the seed of faith in everyone. If a person mistreats this gift, then he loses everything - the world and the hereafter. He runs to anywhere that he finds material benefit. One’s words may say one thing, but the intention can be something else, and his actions in life becomes worldly. He may forget his faith easily and drop the lifestyle that Allah and his prophets are ordering.

It’s not enough just to say, “I am a believer.” There are people who claim they are believers. But it is only words if they do not look at how they are living and adjust their actions according to intentions, asking why they are living and what is the purpose of life.

Why go to work? Why sleep? Why eat? Why pray? If we don’t know the answer, our actions cannot reflect and support our faith. Holy Prophet Muhammad said, “There is no difference in the Presence of Allah between Arab and non-Arab, except for those who have more taqwa (awareness of God’s presence throughout one’s life).” Those who have taqwa are in higher stations and are closer to their Lord. That’s what we have to run after.

When the sun sets, the angels wrap up another page for that day. They close it, seal it and it’s gone. Whatever our intentions and actions were, we cannot change anything from yesterday. The angels closed that page until Judgement Day. “How did I live today? What did I do? Where did I run? What did I earn? Did I earn only this world? Or did I earn for life hereafter? Or I didn’t earn either one of them?” If we earned the world, and if Allah gives a chance later, maybe one day we will spend that gain in the way of Allah on something for Paradise. We were created as “Ahsani taqweem,” the most perfect creature on earth. If we earned neither the world nor eternity, then shame to us.

We have no guarantee that we will reach tomorrow. If Allah gave both strong spirit and strong physical form and we waste them in questionable places, we will regret later. Every breath is a chance given for another life. Once it’s ordered for us not to inhale the air, we go out with whatever we collected in life. If someone collected material only, he cannot take it with him. Everyone goes empty handed to the grave. If a person runs after empty goals, then he will find emptiness in the grave. If one
runs after something valuable for hereafter, he will find that value in the grave.

And what is of value? To have declared one’s faith, and to have lived by that faith. If you testify and you live according to faith, there is no worry. But if you are claiming and not living according to that faith, then you may not remember to hold onto that faith when the angel of death comes. In the end, many think that the doctor (or the president) is going to help. But that doctor and president are themselves in need of help.

Sheytan gives value to worldly attractions. Be careful. We must not see beauty in what Sheytan is directing. Beauty and value is in what Allah and his prophets ordered. That is Hakk (the Truth). What Allah and his prophets forbid, that is ugly and haram (forbidden). If admiring something forbidden, the heart is with Sheytan, not shining with faith. With faith, wrong things become apparent and you will live
what you believe.

Even if Sheytan makes you dizzy and you aren’t faithful throughout your lifetime, when the death-rope is around your neck, you may say, “Well, I didn’t live according to my faith, but at least let me go out with the faith.” When the angel of death comes, unexpectedly or not, the angels record the last words that come into your heart and out from your mouth.

The chance is given to us in this life to testify to faith and we must live by it. Billions
of people sitting in their graves are wishing that this breath of life would be given back to them once more, just to come to this life momentarily and to be taken away again _ just one breath of life to be given to them to declare their faith.

Sheykh Abdul Kerim al-Hakkani al-Kibrisi is the imam and spiritual leader of the Osmanli Naks-I’bendi Muslim Dergah in Sidney Center.

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