Prayer Time

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And upon Allah lies the responsibility of leading us to the right path, for there are some paths deviating (from the right and moderate course) (16:9)

 

There are only two things which are the true source and the true standard of high morals - God's attributes and His Words. Anyone who abandons this source and looks elsewhere for attaining a high moral condition is running after a mirage; and the source of both is the Divine revelation.

 

Spiritual knowledge, spiritual insights and God-gnosis can only be had through revelation. And until we attain such a sweet slate, our character and moral condition cannot reach the stage of perfection and perception. We have been created for a lofty purpose - a purpose much higher than mere deliverance from sin: For attaining true gnosis and for being imbued with hues of Divine attributes. It is this God-relation which is the guarantor of our reformation and success and frees us from doubtful and confused ways and leads to the pure clear headwaters of victory and achievements, and makes our character worthy of being proud of. Its attainment is possible only through revelation.

 

The limited scope of human intellect and the inscrutability of the Book of Nature, both are obvious realities. Often intellectuals, religious leaders and monks, who have not found spiritual peace, commit follies that are a mock on humanity; no trace of Divine and sublime morals are to be found in their persons, and no spiritual growth and development is possible among their followers through them. We need the Divine revelation to temper the intensity of our nominal passions and to quieting our carnal desires.

 

The impact of intellect is limited. It only gives a knowledge of nature's phenomena through our physical senses, remaining within the limitations of time and space, being just an organ for the preservation of human life, so that it can help us achieve the beneficial and higher purposes of our life. But it can neither easily understand life nor understand it with perfection. On the other hand our instinct can understand life more easily, because it is nurtured and perfected in life's mould. But instinct also has its limitations. “Wijdan” (intuitive ectasic perception) is yet a more developed faculty than these two, a faculty which could be termed as cosmic intellect or illuminated wisdom. But the scope of “Wijdan”, when compared to the vast vistas of Divine revelation, appears to be naught. Again, “Wijdan” also has some escapist aspects. It occupied an important place in Hinduism and Buddhism. The Christian monks took shelter in their cloisters under the cloak of “Wijdan”. In the mid-centuries of Islam, the period of deviation, when material decline and mental confusion overtook some Muslim communities after the onslaught and destruction at the hands of the Mongols, this “Wijdan” took shelter in the Khanqahs (retreats) of the errant sûfîs. The spark of piety in them was extinguished and they started to experience “wijdanî” (ecstasies) hallucinations, thanks to their consumption of narcotics like opium, hashish and marijuana. Therefore the “Perfect Self” has no place in “Wijdam”.

 

Thus intellect, instinct and “Wijdan”, because of their limitations and because of their inability to draw upon many other avenues of knowledge, fall short of higher stages of knowledge and gnosis. And when these higher stages are reached, they are unable to perceive them and cannot perform the vital task of purification of self-cleaning of the mentality and the illumination of the heart. And this is the stage which is traversed under the guidance of Divine revelation. It comes and takes us by the hand and leads us through the darkness of the way; only then are we able to fully perceive the inner and spiritual aspects of life. It helps us complete the task of achieving sublime morals and the on-going process of the evolution of our spiritual life continues.

 

The human conscience is a very estimable faculty. It is a voice arising from the innermost recesses of human mind, a voice worthy of being heeded. We in fact receive guidance and clues from it for setting up standards of good and evil. If it is kept alive, and if its voice is heeded, many knotty problems of morality can be unraveled through it. That is why the Holy Prophet is reported to have said: “A sin can be defined as a deed that causes disquiet in your heart”. That is, one should avoid doing anything about which he is pricked in his mind. This Hadith also draws our attention to the inner voice, the voice of our conscience.

 

The conscience alone is not sufficient for the purification of the self and for the guidance of humanity. Its voice is muted and its ability of heeding can be lost due to constant inattention to the conscience. Not only this, one's ideas, sentiments and emotions are nurtured through one's environment. When these developed ideas and inclinations are ingrained in the heart and the mind, then one's conscience is also moulded into their mould and a person can no longer understand and think in a manner counter to the environment in which he is brought up. If this is not so, then what would you say about the thief? After all he also possesses the same conscience that is possessed by the righteous. So why are the righteous judged as being good and the thieves and decoits judged as being evil? In short, mere conscience is not sufficient for attaining to piety, knowledge and God-gnosis.

 

How satisfactory and optimistic is the Message of The Holy Qur'an in this respect. It starts off with our perceptions, goes along with lofty flights of our intellect, listens to the voice of nature, admits the existence of “wijdan”, recognizes the human conscience, but above all these it makes us harken to the cry of “I am here!”. It leads us from the Knowledge of Certainty (Ilm al-Yaqîn) to the Perfect Knowledge with Certainty (Haq al-Yaqîn).The spring of life springs out of this very Perfect Knowledge with Certainty.

 

The wings that help us fly to high heaven are these very wings of Perfect Certainty. It is this Certainty which leads us to the All-Mighty. Deliverance from "sin" can only be reached through this Certainty. At every step this Certainty stops us from doing the undesirable deeds. We don't put our hand in the fire because we are certain it will burn us; We don't eat poison because we are certain that it will kill us. Similarly if there is a Perfect Certainty in someone's heart about the existence of the All-Mighty, about His Awe, His Magnificent Greatness, His Sovereignty and His being the Master of the Day of Requital, then such a perfect certainty would definitely save him from commission of sins.

 

The ambit of human senses, intellect, “Wijdan”, instinct, and conscience is very limited and the guidance provided by them to human-beings cannot go beyond a certain stage containing a rest doubt. Their entire functioning, of whatever kind and quality, cannot go beyond sense-perception, logical deductions and the dictates of the conscience. Then there are stages beyond doubt. What lies beyond these stages, what universes exist beyond the stars, what lies behind the veil beyond which our physical eye cannot see and intellect cannot perceive. Where all human intellect, his physical and logical powers fail and get tired and no light is provided to him for his guidance.

 

The existence of realities is not dependent only on the realities that we can perceive through our five senses. It would be foolish to assert that we only admit to the existence of only these things that we can see with our eyes, or can taste by our tongue, or smell through our nose, or hear through our ears or touch by our hands, nor is the existence of realities limited to those realities which our intellect can deduce. Logic and science are not free of errors nor is science the exclusive means to acquire knowledge. The duty of guiding to the paths to the Hereafter does not fall within the ambit of the activities of science anyway.

 

Human-beings need such a guide whose vision and perceptions, understanding of this life and of the thereafter are free of errors and who can lead to Perfect Certainty, like the one who is addressed in the following words: "(When Muhammad saw the Divine manifestation), his eye deviated not (from the Certainty of the Truth) nor did it wander away (from the invincible faith on which the stood!)” (53:17)

 

We need the guidance of Divine revelation also for the reason that in societies where the individuals are immersed in their own-self-interests and whose ideological basis is resting on the ideals of race and colour, on nationality and patriotism, or else, because of the exploitation of one group by another, they are plagued by the leprous touch of class struggle, and again each individual has his own education and training and environment. In such societies the plan of action for the collective life of the community cannot be chalked out by the human-beings themselves, nor can they determine their direction and destination, and nor can they find access to the purpose of creation through their own efforts and their self-invented ideas. Hence it is essential that he should be assisted in this quest by the metaphysical ideas and personal spiritual experience, leaving aside materialistic ideas. The Holy Qur'an speaks in a beautiful metaphoric way about the necessity of revelation in this situation: "It is Allah alone who sends forth the winds and they raise a cloud which He spreads out in the sky as He will and sets it layer upon layer, and you see the rain falling from its midst. And no sooner does He cause it (- the Divine revelation) to fall on whom He will of His servants, then they are filled with joy (because of glad tidings). Shortly before it was sent down upon them, they were in a state of despondency. Look, therefore, at the evidences of Allah’s mercy! How He breathes life into the earth after its (state of spiritual) death. Surely, He (is) the same (God) Who will raise the (spiritually and physically) dead to life, for He is the Possessor of power over every desired thing. And if We send (another kind of blasting) wind and they see it turn yellow (for its having taken the form of punishment because of their refusal to accept the Divine message), they will even after that continue to disbelieve (for their being engrossed in evil doings). And you cannot make the dead hear, nor can you make the deaf hear the call when they retreat turning their backs (rejectng the message contained in Divine revelation), nor can you guide the blind out of their error. You can make only those hear who would believe in Our Messages and submit (to Us)." (30:48-53)

 

Divine revelation is thus a human need. If we look closely we find that both the physical and the spiritual systems of human-beings run under the same laws of nature. Just as He the High has provided for the human-beings according to their physical needs, similarly He has centered to the needs of the spirit and has provided means to meet them.

 

Our life, so full of doubts and uncertainties and we cannot attain to perfect certainty of God-gnosis except through an elixir and the pure springhead of Divine Dialogue which leads one to a Certainty which is Perfect. By exercising the discipline of morality, self-control and by complying with dictates of the Holy Qur'an, one goes from the animal stage to a stage of sublimation and the consciousness about being answerable for one's actions begins to take shape within him.

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