Date: 27th June 2014; 28th/29th Sha’ban 1435;
ISLAMIC AL-JUMUAA REMINDER AND LEGACY GROUP (http://aljumaareminder.com/) presents a two page reminder to get ready for the Holy month of Ramadan:
THREE CHARACTERISTICS ALLAH LOOKS FOR
People are often confused about how to get proper guidance; and when we talk about guidance here, we mean the guidance to right path (i.e. to Sirat-al-Mustaqeem). Qur’an tells us that it is not in anyone’s hands to guide anyone; not even Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) had the authority to guide anyone. This authority is only with Allah. He guides whom He wills.
“Verily you (O Muhammad, PBUH) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are guided.” (Qur’an 28:56)
“And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make clear for them. Then Allah misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (Qur’an 14:4)
A question comes to our minds: Is there any criteria on which Allah chooses people whom He guides and whom He misleads?
There might be several reasons in Infinite Wisdom of Allah (SWT) based on which He chooses the people to be guided and others to be misled. Surely, it is in our own benefit that we somehow know about what Allah is looking for in each human so as to short-list the individual in to either of the categories: Guided or Misled? Knowing it will definitely make things easier for us, Insha’Allah. So, let us turn our attention towards Qur’an, as it is the best source of knowledge and information. Indeed Allah has mentioned about this in Qur’an; a beautiful set of requirements has been laid down for seekers of Allah’s guidance. Refer to following verses of Holy Qur’an:
As for him who gives (in charity etc.) and have Taqa (or fear Allah), And believes in Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). (Qur’an 92:5-7)
The above mentioned verses explain to us that Allah looks for three important characteristics in an individual. Let us discuss these characteristics separately to understand them well.
- Atā: The first important characteristic that Allah looks for in an individual is the tendency of spending / giving of his / her wealth, resources etc. to others who are needy. For example: Whenever such a person sees someone hungry and if he at that time has something with him that can help in satisfying the hunger of the needy, he will do it without fail. Similarly, if such a person comes across anyone who is in dire straits and need financial help badly, he doesn’t think twice while spending his wealth to help the needy. This trait is known as Atā.
- Taqā: Next important characteristic which Allah looks for is Taqā. This means that the person’s conscience should not be dead. He / She should understand what is right and what is wrong. There are some aspects which are universally right and universally wrong. For example: telling lies is wrong in every religion and talking truth is right in every religion. Similarly, theft, robbery, murder etc. are wrong in every society. A human need not refer to any book or set of rules to decide whether killing someone is right or wrong or whether telling lies is right or wrong; it is there already which tells us, our conscience, given to us by the All-Mighty Allah. The moment someone speaks a lie, his conscience will make him feel slightly sad from within, knowing that it is not good to tell a lie. This conscience should always be alive; Allah looks for this in every individual. This is Taqā, which later on becomes Taqwa.
- Believing in Al-Husna: The third and last characteristic required is that an individual believes in Al-Husna. Whenever Haq is placed in front of him, he accepts it there and then, no questions, no arguments, simple acceptance of Haq. This is one of the most important characteristics required. If someone has this characteristic then the moment he knows something Haq, he will not think even a minute to adopt it in his life, whether that means changing his lifestyle, or whether it means him going against the norms set by the society. He doesn’t wait for thinking over it for some more time, discussing it with his parents or spouse etc…No…it is an immediate acceptance. An example of understanding this for present days Ummah is: Suppose someone is in an argument with another person. The moment his opponent says something true / correct / Haq, he immediately agrees to it….Ya I agree to this point of yours.…let us discuss further…something of this sort. This is known as Believing in Al-Husna.
Allah has assured that whoever possesses these three characteristics, He will make smooth for him the way of ease, such a person is assured of Allah’s guidance sooner or later, Insha’Allah. Scholars are of the view that above mentioned verses refer to the personality of Syedna Abu Bakr Siddeeq (RA). He was always ready to spend on the needy; remember him freeing so many slaves from their masters at the heavy costs demanded by them (the masters). He had his conscience alive always and never indulged in any illegal activities even during the period of Jahilliyah (i.e. ignorance). The moment Rasool-Allah (PBUH) put forward his claim of Prophethood in front of Abu Bakr (RA), he immediately accepted it without any arguments and questions, and accepted Islam. All these three characteristics were present in Abu Bakr (RA) in abundance and Allah guided him Alhumdolillah.
Now let us study the contrary. Refer to following verses:
But he who is greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient, And belies Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path for evil.” (Qur’an 92:8-10)
Here again three characteristics are mentioned, different than the earlier ones though. These three characteristics also demand discussing them one-by-one, in order to understand them properly.
- Bukhl: Bakheel is a person who keeps his wealth close to his heart and does not spend (on others). Whenever he comes across any needy person, he will ignore him; the love and attachment to his wealth does not let him spend it on the needy or on any noble cause. This characteristic is called Bukhl. Examples of such people do not require mentioning of any particular religion.
- Considering himself (herself) to be Self-Sufficient: This feeling of self-sufficiency in any person is one of the worst possible traits that a man can possess. Whoever considers himself / herself to be self-sufficient will always consider all his actions correct. He feels whatever he is doing is right and no one is better than him to tell what is correct and what is wrong. Such a person ends up doing almost anything, without discriminating between the good and the bad, the Al-Māruf and the Al-Munkar; he doesn’t have his conscience alive, it is dead, buried in the worldly instincts of his personality. Example of such people are all those people (irrespective of their religion) who do not differentiate among what is Halaal and what is Haraam and continue with whatever they like doing.
- Denying / Belying Al-Husna: This is a characteristic of a person who never accepts anything correct when told about it. Whenever any Haq / truth etc. is placed in front of such a person, he will deny it, he won’t accept it. He is so stubborn on his own ideology, his own way of life that he doesn’t pay attention to the truth. An example for modern day Ummah may be: If such a person is involved in a discussion with others, and the others provide him authentic proofs in support of their statements, he won’t accept them, making one excuse or another, owing to his stubbornness or whatever it might be. Such a characteristic is termed as Belying the Al-Husna. The biggest example of people with this characteristic are those people who do not accept Islam, who deny that Muhammad (PBUH) is Allah’s Messenger and who argue about the authenticity of Qur’an being Allah’s book.
Allah has clearly stated that whoever possesses these three traits is the one chosen by Allah to be misled. These three are in direct contrast to the three characteristics discussed above required for becoming eligible to get Allah’s guidance. So, basically it is all about a person having these three characteristics or not. Those who will not have the characteristics mentioned in Point 1, 2 & 3 are bound to have characteristics mentioned in Point 4, 5 & 6. One is the way of Guidance, other is the way of mislead. Whoever possesses the 3 characteristics mentioned in Point 1, 2 & 3, is guided by Allah to the right path; whoever has the characteristics No. 4, 5 & 6 is misled by Allah. These are the 3 characteristics Allah looks for, to shortlist the candidates for the Path of Guidance or the Path of going astray.
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