“Alif, Laam, Meem”. This Is The Book, In Which There Is Not The Slightest Doubt.
Alif Laam Mim and similar Isolated Letters often precede Surahs of the Quran. Believing in them is necessary and efforts to decode them unnecessary. These Letters are a secret between Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW only. A believer benefits from their recitation even without knowing their actual meanings. The Holy Quran is a Book having no room for the slightest doubt. Thus, to benefit from this Book, revealed in response to the prayer, it is imperative that the reader must not doubt its content, whether dealing with past or future, as there is no chance, whatsoever, of any error in it. Generally, books or literature discussing supernatural phenomenon beyond the scope of human senses are not presented with absolute conviction even by their authors, because all their conclusions are based on assumptions But, the Revealer of this Book is Allah-SWT, Whose Knowledge is all encompassing, thorough and perfect. He-SWT knows everything from the very beginning till the very end. Thus, the facts unfolded by Him-SWT are beyond any doubt. And to further eliminate any scepticism, Allaah-SWT certifies the veracity and trustworthiness of all the connections and sources, which convey His-SWT Message to mankind.
The Sources Of Conveying The Divine Message
The first source is the Angel who conveyed Allaah-SWT ’s Message to the Holy Prophet-SW. Mark his introduction: This is in truth the word of an honoured Messenger-AS Mighty, established in the Presence of Rabb-SWT of the Throne. One to be obeyed, and trustworthy. (81:19-21). And note that he is trustworthy, mighty and honourable, attendant of the Divine Court: He is so strong that no one can snatch Allaah-SWT ’s Message from him, or compel him to add or subtract anything from it. Although all angels are created from light but amongst them too are the commoners and the elite. The Angel mentioned here is Jibril--AS; he is the leader of them all and is obeyed by all. Allaah-SWT testifies his honesty and integrity and he indeed is the direct source of delivering Allaah-SWT ’s Book to the Holy Prophet-SW
The second source is the Holy Prophet-SW; who is an embodiment of truth. Not only has the Quràn testified his truthfulness, but also his worst enemies acknowledged his honesty and integrity by calling him Sadiq and Amin (truthful and trustworthy). The impeccable life of the Holy Prophet-SW is an endorsement to his Prophet-hood. Whereas miracles and rationales establish his Prophet-hood beyond doubt, his-SW pure, spotless and immaculate pre-Prophetic life provides the most assertive evidence. The Holy Prophet-SW (addressing the Makkans) had said: “I have lived my life amidst you before this, can you accuse me of any falsehood?” By your life (0 Prophet)! And, your morals touch the heights of excellence attainable by a human being (68:4), are the Divine declarations of the sublimity of this source. Hence, the Message of Allaah-SWT is true. The Angel assigned to deliver it is too exalted to be doubted and His Prophet-SW is indeed the most truthful. The entire foundation of Islam is on truth, nothing but the truth. However, the entire mankind does not have a direct access to the Prophetic source and between him and the Ummah is a whole class of intermediaries, who heard the Divine Word directly from the Holy Prophet-SW, understood it, practised and conveyed it to the rest of mankind.
Integrity Of The Companions-RAU
If, Allaah-SWT forbid, this link is questioned, then the Divine Declaration: ‘This is the Book in which there is not the slightest doubt’, may not be proved. No one shall dare question the integrity of the Holy Prophet-SW and the Angel; but the Companions-RAU not being innocent like the Prophets, may not be spared by the critics. And what if they actually misquote some facts? It would simply render the entire structure of Islam doubtful. Therefore Allaah-SWT discusses them at length in the Quran and declares their faith as the standard, their truthfulness exemplary and ordains adherence to their model. Quote:
- And if they believe as you--SW believe, they are rightly guided. (2:137)
- As for those who led the way and of those who gave them aid and those who follow them in good deeds, Allaah-SWT is well pleased with them and they with Him. (9:100)
- Those who lower their voice in the presence of Allah-SWT ’s Messenger-SW, their hearts Allaah-SWT has tested for piety. (49:3)
- Only those are believers who have believed in Allaah-SWT and His Messenger--SW, and have never since doubted, but have striven with their belongings and their persons in the Cause of Allaah-SWT they are the truthful. (49:15)
He-SWT does not praise them after observing their conduct, but declares that it was in My--SWT infinite, knowledge and I--SWT had revealed their attributes in Torah and Bible even before their birth, that they would be My-SWT creation par excellence after the Prophets-AS Indeed it was imperative that those carrying the everlasting Din from the Holy Prophet-SW to the entire mankind be of exemplary character, who would spare no pains in the service of Allaah-SWT ! The fact is that these great men were not only the gallant guardians of Din during their lives in Makkah and Madinah and in their encounters with the Roman and the Persian Empires, but also continue to act as its sentinels. Even today Islam cannot reach mankind if this link is removed, they being the spokesmen and interpreters of Prophethood. They are the ones who heard and understood the Quran directly from the Holy Prophet-SW acted upon its injunctions in his presence and he-SW himself endorsed their actions. Centuries have gone by, every wave rising from the darkness of schism always targets them, but is invariably forced to recede to its origin duly shattered. Influenced by the false and insidious propaganda of Tabri and Kalbi, some indiscreet Muslims also attempted to sit on judgement on them. Allaah-SWT be Glorified! Despite all odds, their exalted status stands impeccable. The strength of the evidence provided by the Quran in their favour leaves the critics hapless. Therefore, the Divine declaration: This Book is without the slightest of doubts, stands substantiated.
Indeed the status of Companionship signifies a special attribute not attainable outside the company of the Holy Prophet-SW. It is incorrect to argue that the saying: ‘all the Companions-RAU are righteous and fair’, refers only to their religious endeavour and not to their personal lives. It is against all logic that a sinner can at the same time be as truthful and trustworthy as to be entrusted with the responsibility of conveying the everlasting Divine Message to mankind. The enemies of Islam base their objections on the incident of Hadhrat Ma‘iz-RAU, which in all fairness, is an exemplary repentance and should be quoted in the praise of the Companions-RAU And there have been only two such incidents over a period of sixty-three years. In a nutshell, these noble, pious and exalted souls are the living proof of the authenticity of Islam.
Guidance for the Muttaqin
In the general sense of guidance and calling towards the truth, the Quran is meant for the entire mankind, but it shows the right path to only those who develop in them the will to go along. The faculty is called ‘Taqwa’. ‘Taqwa’ is generally translated as ‘fear’, which does not convey its true meaning. It actually denotes a particular form of fear, an apprehension of the possible annoyance of the most beloved. It is a strong feeling, a ready disposition to sacrifice everything for the beloved. It is the will, the resolve that restrains all desires, intentions, thoughts and actions only for the fear of displeasing Allaah-SWT . And if unwittingly, a human error occurs; the feeling of guilt hurts and compels one to repent. Now then, how is ‘Taqwa’ acquired and what are the characteristics and virtues of those who possess it?
Those who believe in the unseen
The first and the foremost prerequisite is the belief in the unseen. Those who trust and believe the word of the Holy Prophet-SW in all matters that are otherwise beyond the scope of human senses. The greatest of all the unseen is Allaah-SWT Himself. Although His-SWT Attributes reflect abundantly in His-SWT creation, yet He-SWT Himself can neither be seen nor conceived, because no similitude exists to facilitate the imagination. Then there are other mysteries pertaining to the Akhirah, the Paradise and the Hell, the Reward and the Retribution; the Questioning in the Grave and the Resurrection; the Angels and the Guarded Tablet; indeed they believe in every transcendental reality divulged by Allaah-SWT ’s Prophet-SW. This belief is based entirely upon the trust in the Holy Prophet-SW for no Intellectual endeavour can provide an access to such knowledge. This bond of trust has been weakened considerably with the span of time, which, coupled with the darkness of modern age, has deprived the Muslims of the twinge that pierces the heart when it feels the nearness of the Holy Prophet-SW. Given that trust, one believes in the unseen without any logical explanation, whereby the teachings of the Holy Prophet-SW become the most authentic evidence on any issue. This faith drives a believer to mould his practical life according to the pattern required for attaining Allaah-SWT ’s nearness. The very first step towards this nearness is Salät.
Those who establish Salaat
This establishment does not refer only to offering Salat, but also to the prerequisites attending this important obligation. It is an unwavering thoughtfulness to attend congregational Salat in the masjid. It is a resolve extending from ablution to the whole range of the components of Salat. Establishment does not end here, but reaches its zenith when a person inspires all those he may comes across, to indulge in Salat. This last level is difficult to be achieved by commoners; however, every one should at least offer his Salat properly and in time.
And spend out of that which We-SWT have given them.
See the effect of belief in Allaah-SWT and the realisation of His-SWT nearness, that for Him-SWT , a believer can sacrifice all that a non-believer would die for; Although the Arabic word Infaq is translated as paying of Zakat and other charities, but in fact it refers to the economic aspect of the practical life. Economics is the most pressing issue of human life in every society. It is the root cause of social evils like robbery, bribery and usury, and the experts of all Schools of Thought seek to rectify the situation. However, the method prescribed by the Qurãn for its reform is unique, which is to spend according to Allaah-SWT ’s Command. Obviously, if a person has to spend according to the Orders of Allah-SWT, why should he earn unlawfully. And the injunction Out of that which We-SWT have given them is so clear. When the Bestower is Allaah-SWT why should one adopt illegitimate means to attain wealth? The difference is only of human outlook and view point. When the subsistence is from Allah-SWT, then a person will only get what has already been proportioned for him, whether he steals or works hard to earn it. In fact everything bestowed by Allaah-SWT on a human being falls under subsistence; his body and soul, his intellect, the physical strength, knowledge and the cognition or any skill. The right way of spending them is for His-SWT pleasure, and for His-SWT cause. This is no fable, but history bears witness to the noble society built on this foundation; its vestiges are present even today and shall InshaAllah remain forever.
Tasawwuf Is Not To Be Concealed
The Ayah also alludes to Tasawwuf the most precious of Allaah-SWT ’s bounties. It is not to be concealed, but conveyed to others. A Muslim is not only accountable for scrutinizing the permissible and the forbidden while earning his livelihood, but is also responsible for the manner in which he spends his wealth. He is not to spend a single penny against the wishes of Allah-SWT, a golden rule laid down only by Islam. Practically, it is most effective because where the expenditure is limited; the desire to amass unlimited wealth will not arise. This will only be possible by a total adherence to the Holy Prophet-SW’s teachings.
And those who believe in … and that revealed before you.
A believer must accept from the core of his heart what has been revealed unto the Holy Prophet-SW and also take as true the revelations that had been revealed unto other Messengers-AS of Allaah-SWT before him-SW. Though now actions must conform only to the Final Book. In fact the Divine Scriptures are so honourable and exalted that the denial of any one of them makes a person non-believer though it may not have even reached him. For example, if someone proclaims that he does not believe in the Scriptures revealed unto Prophet Ibrahim-AS, he instantly becomes a non-believer, even if he has no knowledge of what had been revealed therein.
Finality Of Prophethood Proved
Had there been any possibility of the continuation of such Prophet-hood after the Holy Prophet-SW or of any Revelation after the Quran, then more emphasis and details would have revealed as compared to the mention of the previous Scriptures, because a denial of any forthcoming revelations too would have rendered a person a non-believer. But here the words revealed before you provide an impressive proof ‘that Prophet-hood and Divine Revelation have concluded with the era of the Holy Prophet-SW The return of Prophet ‘Isa-AS will not change the situation, because he-AS is already acknowledged as a Prophet-AS by the believers. There is no possibility of a new Prophet and revelation coming. Those who have claimed Prophet-hood have only built castles in the air, have deluded themselves and have caused others to go astray.
Although belief in the Akhirah is an essential part of belief in the unseen, yet its importance is such that the entire structure of human life is based upon it. It calls for an exceptionally strong and firm belief, which compels a believer to consider the eternal consequences of actions before hand, and at every step be mindful of the do’s and don’ts laid down by the Holy Prophet-SW. As a result, his life begins to mould on the pattern of the Sunnah. The reason for the prevalent waywardness in today’s world is the weakness of belief in the Akhirah. The perfect faith is one’s total acceptance from the core of the heart and such sure-footed believers are the ones who are guided towards the right path by their Rabb-SWT , and are successful. It was expected of His-SWT Providence to provide His-SWT creation with guidance. Just as He-SWT gave the sense of fulfilling physical requirements to every being, He-SWT has also shown the ways of achieving spiritual comfort and peace. Those who follow His-SWT guidance become truly successful.
Every human being strives for success in each aspect of his life and every one has his own criteria of right and wrong, which cannot be termed as absolute. The real standards are those set by the Creator-SWT of the universe. The guidance about these criteria began with Prophet Aadam-AS and continued through the ages, concluding on the Holy Prophet-SW. If even after the advent of the Holy Prophet-SW one fails to embrace faith, it would simply mean that he has, because of his wrongdoings, lost the inherent capacity to accept the truth.
As for those who disbelieve … they will not embrace faith.
Those who do not believe in Allah-SWT, even after listening to the Holy Prophet-SW directly, are indeed incapable of believing; as there can be none more exalted than the Holy Prophet-SW and no Divine Scripture superior to the one revealed unto him-SW. In order to grasp this point, consider that the physical body and the Spirit together constitute a human being. The former has its own needs and is dependent upon many things, of which foremost is food and clothing for its survival; but even more important is its health and medical care. If health is bad, neither food benefits nor clothes give any comfort. While food can be obtained from anywhere and from anyone, medicine can only be prescribed by a medical practitioner, and we always consult him. The physical body consists of matter, and so does food and medicine. Therefore, anyone who gains knowledge of medicine from the physical sciences, whether a believer or a non-believer, man or woman, pious or sinner, can become a doctor.
But the Spirit is from the Realm of Command and is even subtler than an angel. Like the physical body, it has its needs too, which obviously are subtle, not material. And not everyone can become a spiritual healer. It is such a precious skill that people were chosen for it right from eternity, rather specially created. However hard one may strive, this faculty cannot be acquired. In the terms of Shari’ah they are known as Prophets-AS who do not prescribe anything on their own but rely on the nourishment and medication provided by Almighty Himself-SWT .
A Prophet-AS has the capacity to directly benefit from the Divine Revelation and the rest of the humanity benefits through him. This is such an important task that not everyone can claim Prophet-hood, but only those raised by Him-SWT . They conveyed His-SWT Message to mankind that Allaah-SWT ’s zikr was the basic food of the Spirit, just as wheat was for the body. And just as there are schedules and manners of feeding the physical body, and medication to maintain its health, zikr and worship too have prescribed timings and methods. The medication for the ailing Spirit is repentance. Like abstaining from certain food stuff is imperative for physical health, so is the abstinence from certain actions imperative for spiritual health. The needs of the Spirit are as vital as those of the body. Amongst all the Prophets-AS appointed for mankind, the last and the leader of all, is a blessing and a Mercy of Allaah-SWT for the entire universe. If a person cannot see anything in the dark, a candle may be lit for him. If he still cannot see, an electric light may help, or he has to wait for the daylight. But when he fails to see even in broad daylight he has certainly lost his vision. Similarly, anyone sticking to disbelief after the raising of Prophet Muhammad-SW the Final Prophet is indeed incurable. He-SW is the Prophet second to none in elegance and charm, eloquence and oration, chastity, honour and dignity. On top of that, he-SW conveys the Word of none other than Allaah-SWT Himself. No one, except a heartless can remain unmoved. Therefore, anyone not benefiting from this fountainhead of Divine Guidance and Lights can never gain anything from anywhere.
Allah-SWT has set a seal … a great punishment.
The heart that is considered to be a mere pumping machine is in fact something incredible. For a comparative study let us take the brain first. It is a collection of membranes and nerves but is a treasure of physical knowledge, having inherent powers to learn and conquer vast fields and to retain a ready memory. But despite all its excellence it did not qualify to receive Divine Revelations. This great blessing was conferred upon the ‘Qalb’- the subtle heart (a vital organ of the Spirit, located within the physical heart): Which the True Spirit has brought down, upon your Qalb (26: 193-194). Thus the capacity of the Qalb turns out to be millions of times more than perceived, its immensity like an ocean without shore, and its greatness beyond measure. This Qalb is not merely a piece of flesh, or a machine, but it is within itself a vast kingdom and a complete universe. The Qulub of the Prophets receive and distribute Divine Beneficence while the Qulub of the believers absorb it, But disbelief is a menace, which strips the Qulub of this capacity. Although the one who commits suicide also dies by Divine Decree, but he himself become cause of his death. Similarly continuous sinning leads to the death of the Qalb, termed as ‘sealing’ According to the Holy Prophet-SW, when a person commits a sin, a black spot appears on his Qalb. If he repents, it is cleared. Otherwise, repeated indulgence in sin results in ultimate darkness of the entire heart. This has been termed as blindness of the Qaib, as well as its death. So now if physically on continues to live on it is nothing remarkable as so many other creatures live too the real superiority a human being enjoys over an animal is his spiritual life. Another thing that comes to light here is that there exists between the Creator-SWT and His-SWT creation an extremely delicate, subtle and personal relationship, of which no one else is aware. Even the Holy Prophet-SW knew only when Allaah-SWT disclosed to him, how His-SWT relationship with some persons had deteriorated to an extent that He-SWT had denied them the opportunity to repent. Since this personal relationship differs from person to person, His-SWT blessings also vary correspondingly.
The Wisdom Behind Collective Zikr
The reason why Sufi masters prescribe collective Zikr is that the Divine Lights diversify from individual to individual. Thus, the greater the number of participants, the greater will be the variety of Divine Lights descending upon them, forming a bouquet of blessings. This also is the secret behind congregational Salãt. These rewards lie within the domain of the Qalb. But those who do not care will realise when this material world and its comforts end, and only those blessings shall last which are related to the spiritual life. The oral and mental acceptance carries no weight before Allah-SWT, unless supported by the endorsement of the Qalb. Just as the physical body is born into this material world, the QaIb is also given life once it endorses the Divine Message. But practically people concentrate all their attention upon the development of their physical selves, leaving their Qulub to gasp in desperation, and to ultimately die. Don’t we see how people born as Muslims are plunging into infidelity; with their physical senses intact they have lost the hearing and vision of their Qulub. May Allaah-SWT protect us!