Friday, March 25, 2011

Choosing The Right Path...

When God closes one door, He opens another door. Most of the time, we are too busy sulking over the closed door to even notice the one that has been opened for us.
Today, I realized another thing.
We do not need to go through every single door that is opened for us.
Sometimes the door that He opens for us is just a test to see how well we measure material wealth.
This happened to me today. I thought that that God opened one of His sustenance doors for me and my family. That door was painted with many colourful and wonderful pictures. However, upon peeping to see what was behind the door, I found that it was covered stuff that is not appropriate. I had to make a decision and I decided not to pursue with the matter.
Decisions decisions decisions…
Sometimes you don’t make the right one and then all you do is count what’s left of it.
At times you envy at the success of others. Islam allows envy but only on two occasions.
Regarding envy, below is a piece that I wrote about envy in my article entitled “Arbitrator or “Arbitraitor”? [2007] 4 QLR 1.

Envy: The Pain of Another’s Lucky Star.

Envy is a unique reaction which results from the knowledge of another’s success.  Most can understand envy as having both positive and negative consequences. Islam teaches that one should be envious of two kinds of persons. The first is a person who is pious and carries out a lot of religious rituals and the second is of the knowledgeable persons. The reasons will motivate one to improve himself and eventually be a religious and knowledgeable person. Much knowledge without spiritual values will not make a person wise.

However, there is also the other side of the coin. The darker side of envy is very harmful. It is a feeling of distress for not having what another has which eventually will lead to resentment and hatred. It has the power to either motivate one to adhere to many evil means to level the playing field or to frustrate the other successful person.

According to Muhammad Abul Quasem (a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the National University of Malaysia)  in his book, “The Ethics of Al- Ghazali – A Composite Ethics in Islam” Kuala Lumpur, p.122:

“Envy is a state of mind in which a man is pained when another person obtains any good, and he wants that good taken away from him even though he himself will not obtain any advantage from its removal and what more if he does gain some advantage with such removal…(Emphasis added)”

(Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali, also known as Imam Al-Ghazali, was one of the greatest thinkers and reformers in the history of Islam.)

Last night I was talking to my mom. She mentioned one fine lesson that we can learn about the timing to make du’a that she learned in her religious class today. She said that if we come across someone whom Allah had given something, instead of being envy to him and the blessings that he received, we should acknowledge Allah’s greatness in giving sustenance to whomever He pleases and at the same time, ask Allah for the things that we want.
She told me that her teacher taught her this as he was teaching the class the tafsir or interpretation of the Quran.
In early part of Surah Ali-Imran, Allah revealed the story of Mary and Prophet Zakariyya (A.S.). Mary was assigned to the care of Prophet Zakariyya (A.S.). There was a time when Mary would stay in her chamber and every time when Prophet Zakariyya (A.S.) would enter her chamber to see her, he would find her chamber supplied with much sustenance. Scholars have explained that Prophet Zakariyya (A.S.) would find food such as fruits which were from different land and it was not from the right season. When he asked her where did she get all this food Mary replied, “From Allah, for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.”
Prophet Zakariyya (A.S.) did not freak out. He believed what Mary said as he knew that Mary was a woman of chaste and pure. What did he do then?
Prophet Zakariyya (A.S.) raised his hands to his Lord and prayed for what he had wanted for a long time… a progeny.
I reproduce verse 37 and 38 of Ali-Imran below. At the same time, I implore you to read the Arabic and English translation of Surah Ali-Imran in full or the most of its early part for better understanding of the surah.

37. Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty: To the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (Her) chamber to see her, He found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?" She said: "From Allah. for Allah Provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure."
38. There did Zakariya pray to his Lord, saying: "O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure: for Thou art He that heareth prayer!

These is one of the amazing things about ulama’ or religious scholars. They manage to pick wonderful life lessons from the Quran and Hadith that a normal person would not be able to see. May Allah bless them and reward them for their effort and knowledge. :)
Blog adjourned.

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