|THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUALITY IN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE & IT'S ROLE IN PREVENTING EVILS|
|Published by Abdul Razak Ricardo|
|Sunday, 26 June 2011 10:44|
Presented By Haji Muhammad Bin Garing
The Meaning of Islam
Islam is Arabic term which means submission and obedience. Submission is to accept Allah’s commands and one who submits to Allah’s command is called Muslin. Acceptance of Allah’s commands requires one to act and behave in a specific way. That is, one has to put into practice His commands. Only then he would have obeyedAllahandthus submitted to His commands. Submission to His commands reflects one’s submission to Allah Himself. Allah’s commands cover all aspects of a man’s life. That is why Islam is referred, to as “Ad-din” - a complete way of life. Islam provides guidance for man from Allah, the Creator of the Universe As a complete way of life; it gives guidance in respect of conducting man’s private, social, political, economic, moral and spiritual affairs. Islam provides answers to man’s most pressing questions on life, such as the purpose of creation, final destiny and man’s place in the universe and among its other creatures.
Submission and obedience to Allah bring peace-that is why the word ‘Islam’ also means peace or as a means to establish peace. There is peace in everything. From the high mountain to the deep blue sea, from the bird in the sky to the worm in the soil, all submit to Allah’s commands they find peace in their existence and in their relations with the rest of the creation. And there is no contradiction in His creation. Everything fits in the realm of creation perfectly and harmoniously to collectively for the universe.
Many people can readily accept Islam if it is properly presented to them because it is the Divine formula for those who want to satisfy their spiritual needs as well as their natural aspirations, those who want to lead a constructive and sound life: whether personal or social, national or international. This is because Islam is the universal religion of God, the Creator of human nature, who knows what is best for human nature: “So set you (O Muhammad. Peace Be Upon You) your face towards the religion (ofpure Islamic Monotheism) Hanif(worship none but Allah Alone) Allah‘s fitrah (i.e. Allah’s Islamic monotheism with which He has created mankind. No change let there bein Khalq-illah (i.e. the religion of Allah) that is the straight religion, but most men know not.” (Surah-Ar-Rum; 3O Tafsir At-tabari].
Complete Way of Life
As mentioned above, Islam is a complete way of life. Its guidelines are relevant to every sphere of human activity. It has the following three distinct dimensions:
The Islamic Concept of Life
The chief characteristic of Islam is that its aim is to shape both individual lives as well as society as awhole in ways that will ensure that the Kingdom of Allah may really be established on earth and that peace, contentment and well-being may fill the world. The Islamic way of life is thus based on a unique conceptof man’s place in the universe. That is why it is necessary that, before we discuss the moral, social, political and economic systems of Islam, we should have a clear idea of what that concept is.
If man follows a course of righteousness and godliness (which he is free to choose and follow) he will be rewarded in this world and the next: in this world he will live a life of peace and contentment, and in the Hereafter he will qualify for the heaven of eternal bliss, al-jannah. If he chooses to follow the course of godlessness and evil (which he is equally free to choose and follow), his life will be one of the corruption and frustration in this world, and in the life to come he will face the prospect of that abode of pain and misery which is called Hell.
After making this position clear,Allah set man on earth and provided the very first human beings (Adam and Eve) with guidance as to how they were to live. Thus man’s life on this earth did not start in utter darkness. From the beginning a bright torch of light was provided so that humanity could fulfill its glorious destiny. Theveryfirstmanreceivedrevealed knowledge from Allah Himself, and was told the correct way to live This code of life was Islam, the attitude of complete submission to Allah, the Creator of man andthe wholeuniverse Itwas this religion whichAdam,the firstman, passed down to posterity.
But later generations gradually drifted away from the right path. Either they lost the original teachings through negligence or they deliberately adulterated and distorted them- They associated Allah with innumerable human beings, material objects and imaginary gods. Shirk (polytheism) became widespread. They mixed up the teachings of Allah with myth and strange philosophies and thus produced ajumble of religions and cults; and they discarded the God-given principles of personal and social morality, the shari’ah.
Although man departed from the path of truth, disregarded or distorted the Shari ah or even rejected the code of Divine guidance, Allah did not destroy them or force them to take the right course. Forced morality was not in keeping with the autonomy He had given to man. Instead, God appointed certain good people from among the human society itself to guide men to the right path. These men believed in Allah, and lived a life of obedience to Hint He honored them by His revelations, giving them the knowledge of reality. Known as prophets, blessings and peace be on all of them, they were assigned the task of spreading Allah’s message among men. All ofthem brought the same message; all of them advocated the same way of life, (din), that is, the waywhich was revealed to man on the first day ofhis existence. All of them had the same mission: they called men to Islam to submit to Allah alone, asked those who accepted the Divine law, and for putting an end to all deviations from the true path. Many people, however, refused to accept their guidance and many of those who did accept it gradually drifted away from their initial commitment.
Lastly, Allah raised the Prophet Muhammad, (Peace Be upon Him) to complete the mission of the earlier prophets-The message of Muhammad. (Peace Be upon Him), was for the whole of mankind & He organized all those who accepted his message into one community (Ummah), charged with living in accordance with the teachings of Islam, with calling humanity to the path of righteousness and with establishing the supremacy of the world of Allah on earth.
Man: Its Nature and Character
There is one thing which has been conferred on man, and which now belongs fully to him, and that is free will which gives him freedom to choose between following or not following the path of Allah. This freedom of will and choice does not automatically make man the real owner of all the power and resources over which he has command, nor does it give him the right to use them just as he likes. Yet, because of thisfree will, he may, if he likes, consider himself free of all obligations to the Lord and independent of any higher authority.
A man may recite the Kalimah, accept the contact and even offer prayers and perform other acts of worship. Butif in his heart he regards himself as the owner and the master of his physical and mental powers and of his moral and material resources, then, however much the people may look upon him as a Mu’min, in the ‘eyes’ of Allah he will be a disbeliever. Ifa man does not use his powers and resources in the way Allah has prescribed for him, using them instead in pursuits which Allah has forbidden, it is clear that either he has not pledged his life and property to Allah, or has nullified that pledge by his conduct.
This aspect of man makes the Islamic way of life the very opposite of thatof the non-Muslim. A Muslim, who has real faith in Allah, makes his entire life one of obedience and surrender to His will. He never behaves arrogantlyor selfishly oras if he were master of his own destiny. And as soon as he becomes conscious of such a lapse, he will submit himself to his Lord and ask forgiveness for his error.
Similarly, a group of people or a society which consists of true Muslims can never break away from the Law of their Lord. Its political order, its social organizations, its culture, its economicpolicy and its legal system must all be in tune with the code of guidance revealed by Allah. Any unwitting contraventions must be corrected as soon as they are realized.
The will of Allah, which it is obligatory for man to follow, is the one which Allah Himself has revealed forman’s guidance. Itcannotbe determined by man himself. Allah has Himself explained it clearly and there is no ambiguity about it. Therefore, if a society sticks honestly to its contact with Allah, it must shape its life in accordance with the Book of Allahand the Sunnah of the Prophet, (Peace Be upon Him)
The Scheme of Life
In Islam, man’s entire individual and social life is an exercise in developing and strengthening his relationship with Allah. Man, the starting point of our religion, consists in the acceptance of this relationship by man’s intellect and will. The Islamic code of conduct is known as the iii. Its sources are the Qur’an and the of the Prophet (peace be on him).
The main objectives of the Shari’ah are to ensure that human life is based on al amrubilma’ruf wan nahyuanilmungkar. The term al-ma’ruf denotes all the qualities that have always been accepted as ‘good’ by the human conscience. Conversely: the word munkaraat denotes all those qualities that have always been condemned by human nature as ‘evil’.
In short, the al-ma’ruf in harmony with human nature and the al-munkaraat are against nature. The shari’ah gives precise definitions of ma’rufat and munkaraat, clearly indicating the standards of goodness for which individuals and society should aspire. It does not, however, limit itself to an inventory of good and evil deeds; rather, it lays down an entire scheme of life whose aim is to make sure that good flourishes and evils do not destroy or harm human life.
To achieve this, the shari’ah has embraced in its scheme everything that encourages the growth of good and has recommended ways to remove obstacles that might prevent this growth. This process gives rise to a subsidiary series consisting of ways of initiating and nurturing the good, and yet another set of 3gjjat consisting of prohibitions in relation to those things which act as impediments to good. Similarly, there is a subsidiary list of munkaraat which might initiate or allow the growth of evil.
The shari’ah shapes Islamic society in a way conducive to the unfettered growth of good, righteousness and truth in every sphere of human activity. At the same time it removes all the impediments along the path of goodness. And it attempts to eradicate any munkaraat from its social scheme by prohibiting evil, by removing the causes of its appearance and growth, by closing the inlets through which it creeps into a society and by adopting deterrent measures to check its occurrence.
The Spiritual Path of Islam
What is the spiritual path in Islam and what is its place in the life as a whole? To answer this it is necessary to study carefully the differencebetween the Islamic concept of spirituality and that of other religions and ideologies. Without a clear understanding of this difference it often happens that, when talking about the spirituality in Islam, many of the vague notions associated with the word ‘spiritual’ unconsciously come to mind; it then becomes difficult for one to comprehend that this spirituality of Islam not only transcends the dualism of spirit and matter but is the nucleus of its integrated and unified concept of life.
The idea which has influenced most the climate of philosophical and religious thought is that body and soul are mutually antagonistic, and can develop only at each other’s expense. For the soul, the body is a prison and the activities of daily life are the shackles which keep it in bondage and arrest its growth. This has inevitably led to the universe being divided into the spiritual and the secular.
Those who chose the secular path were convinced that they could not meet the demands of spirituality, and thus they ledhighly material and hedonistic lives. All spheres of worldly activity, whether social, political, economic or cultural, were deprived of the light of spirituality; injustice and tyranny were the result.
The Islamic viewpoint differs radically from these approaches. According to Islam, Allah has appointedthe human soul as His khalifah (vicegerent) in this world. He has invested it with a certain authority, andgiven it certain responsibilities and obligations for the fulfillment of which He has endowed it with thebest and most suitable physical frame. The body has been created with the sole object of allowing the soulto use it in the exercise of its authority and the fulfillment of its duties and responsibilities. The body isnot a prison for the soul, but its workshop or factory; and if the soul is to grow and develop, it is onlythrough this workshop. Consequently, this world is not a place of punishment in which the human soulunfortunately finds itself, but a field in which Allah has sent it to work and do its duty towards Him.
So spiritual development should not take the form of a man turning away from this workshop and retreating into a corner. Rather, man should live and work in it, and give the best account of himself that he can. It is in the nature of an examination for him; every aspect and sphere of life is, as it were, a question paper: the home, the family, the neighborhood, the society, the market-place, the office, the factory, the school, the law courts. The police station, the parliament, the peace conference and the battlefield, all represent question papers which man has been calleduponto answer. If he leaves most of the answer-book blank, he is bound to fail the examination. Success and development are only possible if man devotes his whole life to this examination and attempts to answer all the question papers he can.
Criterion of Spiritual Development
We shall now discuss how Islam judges the development or decay of the soul. In his capacity as the vicegerent (khalifah) of God, man is answerable to Him for all his activities. It is his duty to use all the powers which he has been given in accordance with the Divine will. He should utilize to the fullest extent all the faculties andpotentialitiesbestoweduponhim for seeking Allah’s approval. In his dealings with other people he should behave in such a way as to try to please Allah.
In brief, all his energies should be directed towards regulating the affairs of this world in the way in which Allah wants them to be regulated. The better a man does this, with a sense of responsibility, obedience and humility, and with the object of seeking the pleasure of the Lord, the nearer will he be to Allah. In Islam, spiritual development is synonymous with nearness to Allah. Similarly, he will not be able to get neartoAllah if he is lazy and disobedient.And distance from Allah signifies, in Islam, the spiritual fall and decay of man.
What will distinguish their actions will be the nature of their relationship with Allah and the aims behind their actions- whatever a religious man does, will be done with the feeling that he is answerable to Allah, that he must try to secure Divine pleasure, that his actions must be in accordance with Allah’s laws.
The Road to Spirituality
The first necessity for progression along the path of spiritual development is faith The mind and heart of a man should always be aware: Allah alone is His Master, seeking His pleasure is the aim of all his endeavors; and His commands alone are the commands that are to be obeyed- This should be a firm conviction, based not merely on the intellect, but also on acceptance by the stronger and deeper this conviction, the more profound a man’s faith will be.
The second stage is that of obedience, ta’ ah. Meaning that man gives up his independence and accepts subservience to Allah. The third stage is that of taqwa (Allah-consciousness). It consists in a practical manifestation of one’s faith in Allah in one’s daily life. Taqwa also means desisting from everything which Allah has forbidden or has disapproved of; man must be in a state of readiness to undertake all that Allah has commanded and to observe the distinctions between lawful and unlawful, right and wrong, and good and bad in life.
This path of spiritual development is not meant for individuals only but for communities and nations as well. Like individuals, a community, after passing through the various stages of spiritual elevation may reach the ultimate stage of ihsan also, through all its administrative machinery, may become Mu’min (faithful), Muslim (obedient), Muttaqin (God-conscious) and Muhsin (godly). In fact, the ideals aimed at by Islam are fully achieved only when the whole community accepts them and a .Muttaqin andMuhsin state comes into existence. The highest form of civilization, peace and harmony, based on goodness, is then reached.
Islamic Values in the Brunei Community
To all Muslim there is no greater role model than Prophet Muhammad, (Peace Be upon Him). His mission on earth is to accomplish perfection of morals of all mankind. He has a compilation of admirable characteristics as seen from all aspects of his inter-personal relation and caring attitude within the community and family. Emulating the examples of the conduct and characteristics of him will influence the Muslim ummah to not only stay away from all forms of disobedience to Allah’s Laws but also will arise feelings of regret to one’s previous carelessness, neglect, ignorance and wrong-doings. This will cause Muslims to do good and be pious. By exemplifying Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, the lives of Muslims will be steered and guided towards lives which are more excellent, more contented not only for this world but also for akhirat or the life hereafter.
It was he which turned the course of human thought from superstition—mongering, love for the unnatural and the inexplicable, monasticism towards a rational approach, love for reality, and a pious, balanced worldly life. It was he who in a world which regarded only supernatural happenings as miracles and demanded them for the verification of the truth of a religious mission, urged that rational proof should be the criterion of truth. It was he who opened the eyes of those who had been accustomed to look for the signs of God in natural phenomenon.
Good personal conduct and moral are important in building a harmonious community and its well-being. Peace and happiness could be achieved if every individual possess high moral and good character as well as carrying out ones’ responsibility as Allah’s servants on earth. Moral reflect a person’s praiseworthy characteristic or otherwise. A person’s personality can be judged from the way he behaves, his words and actions.
For us in Brunei the national philosophy is Malay Islamic Monarchy. Islam being the official religion is our way of life where, for example, we are obliged to respect the azan, call for prayers, and times allocated for prayers. Therefore in our daily lives, the working hours, school hours, social and state function, are arranged so as to enable us to perform the five times daily obligatory prayers. Amongst the hikmah (benefits or gains) of carrying out this Ibadah is that it will prevent us from committing any forms of sins whether apparent or real. Prayer teaches a Muslim to be good in all aspects of life.
One of the important effects in performing the obligatory prayers is that it will cleanse and control the soul of the person from doing the bad things. To a Muslim performing the sholat (prayer) is a way showing ones’ syukur or gratitude to Allah for all the beautiful and the wonderful things including one’s health that Allah has blessed us in our daily lives. Cleanliness is also emphasized in our prayers. Islam places much emphasis on cleanliness and call it as ‘half of our faith. An honorable or despicable character comes from the ‘heart’, as recorded by al-Imam and Muslim, Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be upon Him, once said which is translated as; “... the heart is the one which will motivate toward doing good deeds or evil ones”
A Caring Community
As a Muslim community, we are obliged into account the socio-economic and other concerns of our family members, relatives, surrounding neighbors, community and larger society. A Muslim is required to consistently strive to purify himself from the selfish tendency towards others. A Muslim has no iman or faith if he does not possess caring attitude towards others.
Islamic values are also emphasized at national level. Some examples of Muslims dates of importance are the Maulud Nabi , the commemorative day of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him), tilawah al qur’an,f reading and reciting the Quran), the israk and mikraj and Nujul Quran.
In Brunei, the Friday congregation prayer includes the Khutbah or sermon giving advice on social issues and concerns. On several khutbah included were Islamic injunctions on drug abuse and especially on the shared responsibilities and obligations of members of the Muslim community in its preventing and advocating for drug-free environment. The special qunut nazilah recited during the Friday congregation prayers is to ask Allah for His protection against calamities and disasters.
The Islamic Centre of the Ministry of Religious Affairs writes and distributes books and newsletter on alleviating social problems based on Islamic teachings Of course some were advocating on drug abuse prevention based on Islamic teachings and Islamic values The Centre also organizes amongst others tarbiyah or educating, ta’lim (religious teaching) classes and sessions for different needs and groups of the community.
Conclusion; Islamic Basic Principles of Prevention
Primary prevention is a planned process which aims to promote peace and harmony by empowering people with the necessary resources to confront stressful life situations before they occur. It means avoidance of something from occurring, to keep from happening, to anticipate or to counter in advance. Preventions strategies are targeted towards educating people to enhance their life skills, educating them on the causes and effects- There are two main features of Islamic prohibitions; first, Islam stops the wrong at the inception and not at the end. There is nothing like safe drinking age, or safe drug to get high. Islam makes equal laws by prohibiting completely (total abstinence). Second, Islam blocks all the avenues to the wrong Therefore not only illicit sex is prohibited, but casual mixing of sexes freely is prohibited, obscenity and pornography is also prohibited, and in the same context, not only drinking alcohol is prohibited, but making it, selling it or keeping it.
1.Sheikh Abdullah Basmeihj200l), Tafsir Pimpinan Ar-Rahman Kepada pengertian Al-Qur’an Darul fikir,Kuala Lumpur: Dengan izin dan dibawah kawalan Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM), Malaysia.
5.A Guide Book, 2005, Understanding Drug Addiction from the Islamic Perspective, Produced by the Colombo Plan Secretariat, Drug Advisory Programme And Supported By Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), UD Department of State.