Contemplation

Bismillah
(Taken from “Purification of the Soul : Concept, Process and Means” by Jamal ad-Din Zarabozo)

Aamir ibn Abd Qais stated, “I heard more than one, two, or three of the Companions of the Prophet (salalahu alayhi wa salam) say, “The Lamp of faith or the light of the faith is al-tafakkur (contemplation and reflection)”

In the hustl and bustl of the modern world, contemplation and reflection is one important tool of purification (and an act of worship in itself) that is often neglected. Indeed, it seems as though Satan and his troops have a major plan for the humans of the Twenty-First Century: Keep them so busy and preoccupied that they have no time to reflect upon what they are truely here for, what they should be doing and what their priorities should be. Nowadays, in a world in which technology is supposed to make things easier for people, people are flooded with information, most of it useless,trivial or simply time-consuming. Furthermore, in order to keep up with the pace of life, many have to work overtime or take on two or three jobs as everything is looked upon as a necessity of life: everyone has to have a cell phone, a newspaper delivered, internet access, cable TV, at least two cars and so forth. All of these cost money and, for the majority of people, they cannot be obtained save through sweating more and more hours at work. Then when the person finally has some free time, he only has the mental and physical energy to seek entertainment, relaxation and fun. And the modern world is ready to fill that desire and need in so many various ways that once again the person feels exhaused and has no mental energy left to simply comtemplate and think. As Yassine described it, “You are scattered by a thousand preoccupations, forever distracted, often depressed, and rarely in the proper state of mind.” (Yassine, p.xxvii.)

One of the greatest blessings that Allaah has bestowed upon humans is the human mind and its ability to reflect and understand. When a person uses that mind in the proper way according to its potential he should be led directly to the truth of God’s oneness and strong desire to worship the one God. On the other hand, if a person uses his mind simply to ponder over more ways to enjoy himself in useless pursuits and lusts, he will not have benefited from this great blessing and he will have wasted something that could have greatly helped in saving his very soul. In this way, his action becomes even more foolish than those creatures that have not been granted this blessing. Hence, Allaah says,

“Many are the jinn and men We have made for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, nay more misguided: for they are heedless: (al-Araaf 179)

One very important type of contemplation is the reflecting on nature and this creation. In fact, there are numerous verses in the Quran in which Allah exhorts mankind to ponder over different aspects of this creation. For example, Allaah says,

“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. [Such are] those who remember Allaah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the thought): ‘Our Lord! Not for naught have You created (all) this! Exalted be You! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire” (ali-Imraan 190-191)

In this verse, Allah clearly ties contemplating the creation with remembrance of Allah and the conclusion that it is unacceptable to believe that Allah created this creation in vain and without a noble purpose. The Messenger of Allah (salalahu alayhi wasalam) would would recite these verses often late at night (as Muslim records). In fact, the Messenger of Allaah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) once said about these verses,

“Woe to the one who reads it and does not contemplate over it.” (Recorded by Ibn Hibban. Its authenticity is discussed and confirmed by al-Albaani in Muhammad Naasir al-Deen al-Albaani, Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth al-Saheehah (Damascus: al-Maktab al-Islaami, 1979), vol. 1 P. 106ff.)

Hence, the issue is not simply a matter of appreciating the beauty and excellence of the creation. This is something that even the disbelievers do. Unfortunately for them, though, as with so many aspects of this world, the disbelievers cannot seem to go beyond the “tip of the iceberg” to see the reality and importance that lies beyond it. (Fn: As Allah says about them, “They know but the outer (things) in the life of this world: but of the hereafter they are heedless.” (al-Room 7). In other words, they are heedless of what all the lessons of the different aspects of this creation point to.)

The believer, on the other hand, uses that contemplation and appreciation of creation to bring him closer to Allah, remembering Allah through all of these sights and loving Allah more due to His great ability and attributes that led to this amazing creation.

As is well known, faith increases and decreases. Every Muslim should seek those means that are helpful in increasing one’s faith. One of the greatest benefits of the proper form of contemplation is that it increases the faith in one’s heart. It increases one’s certainty that this existence difinitely has a creator-it is impossible, for example, that this creation was the result of a random collision of molecules. It also increases one’s appreciation for that Creator, as this creation has miraculous aspects in it that only the Most Wise and Powerful could have created. In fact, Allah says,

You see the mountains and think them firmly fixed: but they shall pass away as the clouds pass away. (Such is) the artistry of Allah, Who disposes of all things in perfect order. He is well acquainted with all that you do.” (al-Naml 88)

Beyond that, as one reflects upon the world around him, one also comes to the realization, udner the guidance of the Quran, that all objects, the animate beings and even inanimate, are engaged in a worship of Allah. One begins to appreciate the meaning of Allah’s words,

“The seven heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, declare His glory: there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet you understand not how they declare His glory” (al-Israa 44), and,

“Do you not see that it is Allah Whose praise all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise. And Allah knows well all that they do.”

An astounding result of this realization is that when the person truely obeys Allah, he is overcome with the feeling that he and all the forces of this creation are acting as one in worshipping the one and only true God and Creator.

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One Response to Contemplation

  1. Pingback: OH, The Woes of a Country Mouse… « Random Musings Of A Mad Mama!

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