Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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> The Essence of Islam by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad Sahib of Qadian
How a Muslim Should Serve Allah and Humanity; and
the Miracles of the Holy Prophet Muhammad
Articles Section > The Essence of Islam by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian [Discusses: How a Muslim Should Serve Allah and Humanity; and the Miracles of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)]
Essence of Islam:
(Note: Explanations of the teachings of Islam usually represent this faith in terms of dogma, ritual, and aspects of outward behaviour. The impression is strongly received that what Islam requires from its followers is merely mechanical belief and observance, without any involvement of thought or feeling or the creation of a relationship with God. Moreover, the meaning of the word Islam is given as submission in such a manner that it implies a forced, unwilling, unloving obedience to an Autocrat.
The technical meanings of Islam are those indicated in the following verse:
Nay, whoever submits himself whole-heartedly to Allah, and he is a doer of good to others, he shall have his reward from his Lord. And there is no fear for such people, nor do they grieve (2:112).
It means that a Muslim is one who gives over his entire self to the path of God, the Most High. That is, he dedicates his being to Allah for the pursuance of His will and for the attainment of His pleasure, and then he devotes himself to doing good works for God, and employs all his practical faculties in His way. The meaning is that he should be solely for God, in belief and deed. In terms of belief, it means that he must truly consider all his being to have been created in order to know God, to obey Him, to love and adore Him, and to gain His pleasure. In terms of deeds, it means that purely for the sake of Allah he must perform acts of true virtue that are associated with every power and every God-given faculty, and with such fervour, zeal and presence of mind as if he is seeing the face of his real Master in the mirror of his obedience.
The meaning of the rest of the verse is that if a persons beliefs and deeds are founded on such personal love, and good deeds are done by him with such instinctive passion, he is the one who deserves reward in Allahs view, and such people have no fear nor grief; that is, they have ready salvation. For, when a man is in full accordance with Allah, by believing in His person and attributes, so that his purpose is akin to Gods will and all joy is in His obedience, and all good deeds come to be performed not by hard effort but by the attraction of joy and delight; that is the state which must be called success, salvation and deliverance. And in the next world, whatever is perceived and felt are, in reality, the images and impressions of this constant state which will be manifested physically in that world. The meaning is that a heavenly life begins in this very world, and the root of the torment of hell, too, is the filth and the heedless existence of this world.
By pondering over these verses, it is also plainly and clearly seen that to devote ones life in the way of God, which is the essence of Islam, has two sides to it. First, God must be believed to be the One Who is to be worshipped, sought and loved. In serving Him, loving Him, fearing Him and hoping from Him, no one must be taken as being His partner. Celebration, glorification and service of God, all the forms and commands in relation to serving Him, the commandments and prohibitions, and matters relating to the destiny ordained by Him, must all be accepted with ones heart and soul. All these orders, limits, laws, and circumstances ordained for us, must be borne with complete devotion, in the most humble and lowly manner. And one must learn thoroughly all the pure truths and knowledge which are the means of realising His vast powers, the medium of discovering the elevated glory of His dominion and Kingship, and a powerful guide for recognising His favours and blessings.
The other aspect of devoting ones life for God is that it must be dedicated to the service, sympathy and help of His creatures, the bearing of their burdens and the true sharing of their grief. One must bear hardship to provide relief to others, and for their comfort tolerate difficulty for oneself.
This discourse shows that the essence of Islam is very high and lofty, and no one can be truly accorded the honourable title of "follower of Islam" until he gives to God the whole of his being, with all his powers, desires and aims, and leaving aside his egotism and all its implications, devotes himself in the path of God. Therefore, a person can only be called a Muslim in the real sense when a mighty revolution has overtaken his life of indifference, obliterating forever the stamp of his lower self and all its passions, and after this death a new life of "doing good for the sake of Allah" has been born within him, a life so impeccable that it consists of nothing but obedience to the Creator and sympathy for His creation.
Service to the creation of Allah is like this. As regards all the needs of His creation, and all the various ways in which Divine providence has made some people dependent on others, one must do good with all the real, selfless and true sympathy that one can show, solely for the sake of Allah, and help every needy person with ones God-given ability, exerting oneself to bring about reform and improvement in their life of this world and the next.
This devotion in the way of God, however, can only be worth its name when all the faculties show the mark of Divine obedience as if they were an instrument of God which manifests Divine acts now and again, or a clear mirror in which the will of God is reflected as a perfect image. When obedience and service for the sake of God reaches this perfect stage, then by the blessing of this Divine colouring, it is correct to say, in the sense of the wahdat ash-shuhud (unity of attributes), as regards the limbs and organs of a man of this description, that, for example, these eyes are the eyes of God, this tongue is the tongue of God, this hand is the hand of God, these ears are the ears of God, and these feet are the feet of God. For, all these limbs and powers, by being inspired with the purposes of God and having become an image of His will, in the Divine paths, deserve to be called His manifestation. The reason is that, just as a persons limbs are fully under the control of his will and intent, likewise, when the perfect man reaches this stage, he acquires complete conformity with the will and intent of God. Gods greatness, unity, kingship and lordship, and every wish and command are as dear to him as they are to God Himself. Hence, this great and grand obedience and service for the sake of God, which was attained through love and affection, and is replete with sincerity and real substance -- that is Islam, its essence and gist, which is attained after the death of ones self, desire and will.
The words after this, and he is a doer of good to others, refer to the stage of baqa because when man, after a complete and perfect fana and extinction of lower passions, comes to life again through Divine urge and prompting, and, after the termination of all selfish actions, becomes activated again by spiritual movement, this is the second life which ought to be termed baqa.
The words after this, he shall have his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for such people, nor do they grieve, affirm and prove the receiving of reward, and negate and deny fear and grief. This refers to the state of liqa. For, when a person reaches that high rank in knowledge, conviction, reliance (upon God) and love, where the reward for his sincerity, faith and fidelity does not seem to him to be mere imagination, supposition, or conjecture, but is as certain, definite, manifest, palpable and perceptible, as if he had received it, and he acquires such a faith in the existence of God as if he can see Him and all fears about the future are lifted from view, and no trace is left of any past or present grief, and every spiritual favour appears to be present -- this is the state which is clean of all murkiness, safe from every doubt, and above any pain of anxiety, and is termed liqa. The word muhsin (doer of good) in the verse very clearly testifies to the rank of liqa, because according to the explanation of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, ihsan denotes that perfect state at which man forms such a close relationship with God during worship that it is as if he were seeing Him.
The rank of liqa is fully attained by the spiritual wayfarer when the Divine hue conceals and covers under itself the human element as fully and completely as fire hides the colour of a block of iron, so that to outward appearance there is nothing but fire. This is the stage at which some spiritual students, when they reached it, have made errors and mistaken the relationship of shuhud (presence within the Divine Being) as being wujud (unity with the Divine Being). To those saints who reached this rank, or those who attained some measure of it, certain spiritual scholars have applied the "sons of God" due to the Divine attributes, and just as a mans son bears some resemblance to his father in appearance and features, likewise they too bear some resemblance to the beautiful attributes of God in the sense of reflecting them, because of being moulded according to the Divine attributes. Although such a term is not openly used in the language of the Shariah, the spiritual men have, in fact, deduced it from the Holy Quran. As Allah, the Glorious says:
Remember Allah as you remember your fathers; nay, with an even stronger remembrance (2:200).
It is obvious that if it was forbidden in the Shariah to use such words metaphorically, then God would have kept His Word free from a manner of expression from which the legality of such use could be deduced.
You (O Prophet) did not throw when you threw, but it was Allah who threw (8:17).
That is, Divine power was invisibly working behind it, and it could not be the work of human power.
Likewise, a second miracle of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, the splitting of the moon, came about through the same Divine power. There was no prayer accompanying it, for it took place merely by the pointing of a finger which was full of Divine power. There are many other miracles of this kind which the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, showed merely through personal power, without any prayer accompanying them. On several occasions, by dipping his fingers into a small amount of water contained in only a bowl, he increased it so much that all the troops, camels and horses drank of it, and yet the original quantity of water still remained. There were some instances when he fed thousands of hungry people to the full by touching a few pieces of bread with his hands, or made a whole company drink milk by blessing a small amount of it with his lips, or made the water of a salt-water well sweet by adding his saliva to it, or healed badly-injured men by putting his hand upon them, or mended the eyes of soldiers whose pupils had fallen out due to the shock of battle, by the blessing of his hand. Similarly, there were many other works he performed due to personal power, which involved an invisible Divine power. (Translation appears from an extract taken from: A'ina-i Kamalati Islam, by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian)