Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We Are All in This Together

Mentioning Hajj, Its Virtues and an Encouragement to Undertake It

By Imam Zaid on 27 October 2009
Category: Messages

We will now continue our translation from Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s work, Lata’if al-Ma’arif. In this section, he begins a discussion of the Hajj and some of its virtues, pp. 400-402.

It is related in the two sound books (Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Abu Hurayra, from the Prophet, peace upon him, that he said, “The most virtuous acts are sincere faith in Allah and His Messenger; struggling in the way of Allah; and a righteous pilgrimage.” [17] In reality, these three actions return back to two acts. The first is faith in Allah and His Messenger, which involves the absolute affirmation of the existence of Allah and His Angels, His Scriptures, His Messengers, and Doomsday, as has been explained by the Prophet, peace upon him, in the Hadith where Gabriel questioned him, along with other narrations. Allah has mentioned these pillars of faith in several places in His Scripture, such as the beginning of Sura al-Baqara, its middle and its end.

The second is struggling in the way of Allah, be He exalted. Allah has connected these two principles at many places in His Scripture, such as His saying, exalted is He, O Believers! Shall I direct you to a commerce that will save you from a painful punishment? Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and struggle in the way of Allah with your wealth and with your lives… (60:10-11) Similarly, Rather, the believers are those who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and have thereafter never doubted; and that have struggled with their wealth and their lives in the way of Allah. They are the truthful. (49:15)

It has been accurately related from the Prophet, peace upon him, in more than one narration that the most virtuous of deeds is belief in Allah and struggling in the way of Allah. Pure faith, in the view of the righteous forebears and the People of Hadith encompasses the actions of the limbs. As for faith that is coupled with action, what is meant by that is the affirmation of the heart along with the affirmation of the tongue. This is especially true if faith in Allah is linked with faith in His Messenger, peace upon him, as is mentioned in this Hadith [the first one we have quoted above]. Faith firmly established in the heart is the source of every good. With it worldly and otherworldly happiness is obtained, along with salvation from worldly and otherworldly wretchedness.

When faith is firmly rooted in the heart all of the limbs undertake righteous deeds. The tongue undertakes pleasant speech, as the Prophet, peace upon him, mentioned, “Verily, in the body there is an organ, if it is sound the entire body is sound and if it is corrupt, the entire body is corrupt. Surely, it is the heart.” [18]

There can be no soundness for the heart without faith in Allah and what it designates of knowledge of Allah and upholding His oneness, His reverence, His love, hoping for good from Him, being remorseful to Him [if one slips into sin] and relying on Him. Hasan [al-Basri] mentioned, “Faith does not come through wishing, nor through pleasantries. Rather, it is what becomes firmly rooted in the heart and is testified to by [righteous] actions.” This meaning is affirmed by Allah’s statement in the Qur’an, exalted is He, Rather, the believers are those who when Allah is mentioned their hearts are rendered reverent; and when His signs are recited unto them they are increased in faith, and they trust in their Lord. They are the believers in truth. They will have special stations with their Lord, forgiveness and an abundant provision. (8:3-4)

When the servant tastes the sweetness of faith and fully experiences it, its fruit appears on his tongue and limbs. His tongue finds sweetness in the remembrance of Allah and all associated with it. The limbs hasten to obey Allah. It is then that the love of faith enters the heart; just as intensely cold water on an excruciatingly hot day enters the body of one suffering from severe thirst.

Leaving faith becomes more hated to the hearts than being hurled into a fire, and more detestable than being slowly tortured to death. It is related from Ibn Mubarak on the authority of Abi al-Darda’ that he entered Medina and said, “What is wrong O People of Medina! I do not sense you manifesting the sweetness of faith. I swear by the one holding my soul in His Hand, if a bear in the forest were to experience the flavor of faith, the sweetness of faith would be visible on him.”

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