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Earlier many of the important features of Islam were presented. Before concluding this chapter, the author would like to emphasize some of the important fruits that are bestowed upon a Muslim due to his conversion and following attachment to Islam.
It is important to note and appreciate that all of the benefits of Islam accrue to the human. It is solely for his own benefit that Allah has provided His guidance to humankind. Allah, Himself, is not in need of humankind’s worship. He is free of all needs but in His Mercy He has shown humankind the proper mode of behavior to meet His approval. Thus, He says,
“Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his ownself. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another's burden”
In addition, those who reject Islam are only harming themselves.
“Truly! Allah wrongs not mankind in aught; but mankind wrong themselves”
(A) Knowing Allah, the individual’s God, Lord and Creator
The greatest benefit of becoming a Muslim and growing in Islam is that the individual is able to truly know Allah. The believer knows Allah not in some vague, dry, philosophical sense. Instead, for example, the believer knows Allah in detail via His Names and Attributes, the knowledge of which Allah has graciously provided in the Quran and Sunnah. Every one of Allah’s names should lead a person to greater love of Allah as well as greater fear of Him, accompanied by attempting to get closer to Him with those great attributes by performing righteous deeds.
Ibn Taimiyyah noted, “Whoever knows the names of Allah and their meanings, believing in them, will have a more complete faith than the one who does not know them but just believes in them in general.” Ibn Saadi also noted, “Whenever a person’s knowledge of Allah’s beautiful names and attributes increases, his faith also increases and his certainty is further strengthened.” If one has a good knowledge of Allah’s names and attributes, one will then have an opening to understanding what takes place in this creation. This fact was beautifully expressed by ibn al-Qayyim when he said, “Whoever knows Allah, knows everything other than Him. Whoever is ignorant of his Lord is even more ignorant of everything other than Him.”
Indeed, the effect of this knowledge should be so great that a true understanding of those names and living according to their implications should lead one directly to Allah’s pleasure and paradise. In fact, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) clearly told this Muslim nation, “Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one. Whoever memorized them all by heart will enter Paradise.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) described the type of transformation that takes place when the individual really knows Allah and has thereby truly tasted the sweetness of faith. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “[There are] three characteristics that if a person has them, he has tasted the sweetness of faith: that Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to him than anything else; that he loves a person and he only loves him for the sake of Allah; and that he hates to return to unbelief in the same way that he hates to be thrown into the Fire.”
There is still another further very important and fascinating aspect. This is an aspect that some seem to overlook although Allah has mentioned it in various places in the Quran. This Islam engenders in the human a special type of relationship with his Creator and God. It is a relationship which, as Allah Himself describes it, leads the individual to be pleased with his Lord. In other words, the person develops an appreciation of Allah. Allah becomes dear to Him. The individual becomes pleased with Allah because he begins to understand the beauty, excellence and perfection of Allah and all that Allah wills. It becomes no longer a matter of submitting to the One who deserves such submission and obedience. It becomes a matter of appreciating who Allah is, what Allah has decreed, what Allah has commanded and what Allah will do to the humans.
The individual realizes that he can experience nothing but pleasure with Allah. Islam, thus, allows the person to truly understand and appreciate his Lord and Creator, such that he becomes very happy with his Lord, leading him in turn to want to become pleasing as well to his Lord. Thus, Allah says, for example:
“And the first to embrace Islam of the Emigrants and the Helpers and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success”
Allah will say:
‘This is a Day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise) - they shall abide therein forever. Allah is pleased with them and they with Him. That is the great success (Paradise)’”
(B) True Happiness
Allah says, “Whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance, there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve” (2:38). Allah has emphasized these words when He said, “But if, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery. But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment. He will say,
‘O my Lord! Why have You raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)?’ (Allah) will say, ‘Thus did you, when Our Signs came to you, disregard them, so will you, this day, be disregarded’”
God is an individual’s Creator. In addition, it is the knowledge of Him and the relationship with Him that the soul is seeking. Hence, without this relationship, sorrow will enter into a person’s life. On the other hand, knowing Allah and establishing the proper relationship with Him will bring about true happiness.
Throughout history, scholars and pious people have tried to express the joy and contentment that enters into their hearts via knowing their Lord. A famous scholar of Islam, Ibn Taimiyyah, attempted to express the joy that he felt from his faith in Allah and the deeds he performed. He once said, “In this world there is a Paradise that whoever does not enter it will not enter the Paradise in the Hereafter.” He also said, “What can my enemies do to me? Certainly, my paradise and garden are in my chest.” In fact, ibn al-Qayyim, ibn Taimiyyah’s closest student who would visit him often in the citadel prison, stated,
Allah knows that I have never seen anyone having a better life than him. [This was true] even though he was in straitened circumstances and not living in luxuries and comforts. On the contrary, he was on the opposite extreme. Even though he faced imprisonment, torture and threats, he still had the most pleasurable life among the people, with the most relaxed feelings, strongest in heart and happiest of all of them. The experiencing of joy could be seen on his face. Whenever we were very fearful, feeling bad expectations and felt the earth constricting upon us, we would come to him and we only needed to see him and listen to his words that all of those emotions would leave us. Instead, we would be filled with rest, strength, certainty and tranquility. Exalted be the One who allows His servant to witness His Paradise before he meets Him.
Of course, such a beautiful feeling from one’s faith was not restricted to ibn Taimiyyah. Ibn al-Qayyim quotes another devout Muslim as saying, “If the kings and the children of the kings knew what [felicity] we are in, they would fight us over it with their swords.” Yet another stated, “The inhabitants of this world are miserable. They leave this world and they do not taste the most wonderful aspect that it contains.” When asked what that was, he replied, “Love for Allah, knowing Him and remembering Him.” Ibn al-Qayyim also quoted another who said, “There comes some times in which I say, ‘If the people of Paradise are in a state like this, they are enjoying a good life.’”
One author noted, “[The fruits of purification of the soul] are perpetual fruits for every times. The servant finds their taste, experiences their sweetness and moves about in its pleasures. Every time the person increases in the steps of purification, those fruits likewise increase.” Ibn al-Qayyim further stated,
Do not consider that Allah’s words,
“Indeed, the righteous will be in pleasure and indeed the wicked will be in Hell-fire”
are restricted only to the pleasures and hell of the Hereafter alone. Actually, it applies to their [humans’] three stages, that is, the life in this world, the life in al-barzakh [after death and before resurrection] and the life in the permanent abode [after resurrection]. Those [purified souls] are in pleasure while the others are in a hell. Isn’t pleasure only the pleasure of the heart and punishment only the punishment of the heart? What punishment can be harsher than fear, worry, anxiety and uneasiness [faced by those whose souls are not purified]? [What can be harsher than] its turning away from Allah and the abode of the Hereafter, its clinging on to something other than Allah and its being disconnected from Allah?
(C)Being Just with One’s Own Self:
Associating partners with Allah is a great form of wrongdoing. In particular, one is completely wronging one’s own soul and dignity by submitting to and worshipping beings that do not deserve a human’s worship whatsoever. Allah has stated in the Quran, while quoting Luqmaan,
“Indeed associating [partners with Allah] is a great wrongdoing”
Allah has said in the Quran,
“O believers! Verily, the polytheists are impure”
This is a spiritual impurity, illustrating that one is denigrating one’s soul.
Once the concept of pure monotheism is truly understood and embodied in a person, there is a certain type of nobility (for lack of a better word) and feeling of purpose that accompanies the soul. The person realizes that he is not to submit to, physically bow down or prostrate to anything or anyone other than Allah. He does not turn in his prayers to anyone other than Allah, nor can anyone grant him forgiveness save Allah. He does not turn to dead humans who, in reality, were no more than humans themselves. He does not sit at the base of wooden or metal idols that other humans themselves actually created. He does not fear any form of spirits such that he has to appease them by offering sacrifices to them. Furthermore, such a person will base his life on his belief in there being only one true God.
All of these things are forbidden to him by the concept of monotheism. But they are more than simply forbidden for him. He understands full well that all of these acts are not becoming a human being that Allah has created for a very special and noble purpose. All of these acts are beneath a human and, in fact, it is inconceivable that a person who has a sane understanding of reality would ever take part in those types of acts. Why should a human bow down and pray to another human who has to eat and drink to survive just like himself? How could anyone claim that another being has any share in the divinity with Allah and therefore is deserving of having others humble and prostrate themselves before him?
(D) Being Rescued from Earning Allah’s Punishment
Allah says in the Quran,
“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing)”
Indeed, every human shall have to face the reality of death. After death, every individual will have to stand in front of his Lord and will be held accountable for all of his actions. For many among humankind, their beliefs, attitudes and actions will lead them to only one fate: the punishment and wrath of Allah. Being saved from that recompense is one of the greatest achievements anyone could possibly attain.
On the Day of Resurrection the difference between those who believed and those who refused to do so will be great. Note how Allah describes the events of that Day. Allah has said,
“O mankind, fear your Lord! For the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgment) will be a thing terrible! The Day you shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed): you shall see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah”
Allah also says,
“Finally, when the Trumpet is sounded, that will be—that Day—a Day of distress, far from easy for those who disbelieve”
The disbelievers, due to their attitudes in this life and their intention to forever behave in the way that they were living, shall be devoid of all good on that Day. Allah will not bless them in any fashion and will not even look at them with any pleasure or approval. As Allah has stated (in more than one place) about the disbelievers,
“As for those who sell the faith they owe to Allah and their own plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter, nor will Allah (deign to) speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment, nor will He purify them (of sin). They shall have a grievous Penalty”
(E) Allah’s Pleasure and Paradise in the Hereafter
Allah’s pleasure and one’s happiness in the Hereafter are the greatest and most important results of being a true Muslim. The life of the Hereafter is the only real life to be sought. Yet that real life will only be granted to those who can raise themselves above the lowly desires of this worldly life by seeking Allah’s pleasure instead. Thus, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “No one shall enter Paradise except a believer.”
In other words, such a great and blessed life will only be for those who believed, practice Islam and purified their souls, thus pleasing Allah and deserving His blessed reward of Paradise in the Hereafter. It will not be for those who do evil in this life and who turn their back on Allah’s guidance. Allah reminds all of mankind of this fact when He says,
“That abode of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the end is (best) for the righteous”
In fact, not only will Allah rescue the believers and purified souls from such a punishment on that Day, Allah will further purify them of all or any of remaining sins such that they will then be in a state where they are allowed to enter into Paradise. This is a special blessing that only comes to those who sought to purify themselves with belief and good deeds in this life.
Actually, the true Muslim and believer will experience happiness in all stages of his life. As noted earlier, he experiences true happiness in this life while others are seeking imaginary or mirage-type happiness. At the time of his death, also, his soul will flow freely from his body surrounded by a beautiful smell as he begins to experience the first taste of the pleasures of the Hereafter. The angels come to him and give him glad tidings of the things to come.
Allah has beautifully described what will occur in the following verse, “In the case of those who say,
‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and, further stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): ‘Fear not nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of the garden (of bliss) that you were promised. We are your protectors in this life and in the Hereafter: therein shall you have all that your souls shall desire; therein shall you have all that you ask for! A hospitable gift from One Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful!’”
In the grave, also, he will experience happiness as his grave is expanded for him and he can see his seat in Paradise while the disbeliever’s grave is constricted upon him as he is viewing his seat in the Hell-fire.
Allah describes the believers on the Day of Resurrection with the following beautiful words,
“Those for whom the good (record) from Us has gone before will be removed far therefrom. Not the slightest sound will they hear of Hell. They shall dwell in what their souls desired. The Great Terror will bring them no grief: but the angels will meet them (with mutual greetings): ‘This is your Day, (the Day) that you were promised’”
“But Allah will deliver the righteous to their place of salvation: no evil shall touch them, nor shall they grieve”
The believers will be saved all of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection until they are granted entrance into Paradise:
“(To the righteous soul will be said:) ‘O soul in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord, well pleased (yourself), and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter, then, among My servants. Yea, enter My Heaven’”
“And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden in crowds: until behold, they arrive there; its gates will be opened; and its keepers will say, ‘Peace be upon you! You have done well! Enter here, to dwell therein.’ They will say, ‘Praise be to Allah, Who has truly fulfilled His promise to us, and has given us (this) land in heritage: we can dwell in the Garden as we will: how excellent a reward for those who work (righteousness)’”
In reality, above and beyond all of that is that they shall receive Allah’s good pleasure.
“Allah has promised to the believers—men and women—gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah: that is the supreme felicity”
Finally, there comes the greatest reward of all for those who purified themselves in this life via true faith, good deeds and excellence in faith: the opportunity to see Allah. Allah has said,
“To those who do right is a goodly (reward), yea, more (than in measure)! No darkness or shame shall cover their faces! They are Companions of the Garden; they will abide therein (forever)”
In a hadith recorded by Muslim, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained the “more” as being blessed with the ability to see Allah.
- Ibn al-Qayyim noted that every one of Allah’s names obligates a specific form of worship from the human in response to that name and attribute of Allah. See Muhammad ibn al-Qayyim, Miftaah Daar al-Sa’adah (Beirut: Daar al-Fikr, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 90.
- Ahmad ibn Taimiyyah, Majmoo Fatawaa Shaikh al-Islaam ibn Taimiya (Collected by Abdul Rahmaan Qaasim and his son Muhammad, no publication information given), vol. 7, p. 234. Also see Fauz bint Abdul Lateef al-Kurdi, Tahqeeq al-Uboodiyyah bi-Ma’rifah al-Asmaa wa al-Sifaat (Riyadh: Daar Taibah, 1421 A.H.), p. 163.
- Quoted in al-Kurdi, p. 164.
- Ibn al-Qayyim, Madaarij al-Saalikeen bain Manaazil Iyyaaka Na’budu wa Iyyaaka Nasta’een (Beirut: Daar al-Kitaab al-Arabi, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 351.
- Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. The above is Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s translation of the hadith. He also added the following footnote, “Memorizing Allah’s Names means to believe in those Qualities of Allah derived from those Names and should be accompanied by good deeds which Allah’s Names inspire us to do. Just knowing Allah’s Names by heart will not make a vicious man enter Paradise. Therefore, the word ‘memorized’ in the Hadith means to behave in accordance with the implications of Allah’s Names.” Muhammad Muhsin Khan, The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih al-Bukhari (Riyadh: Darussalam Publishers and Distributors, 1997), vol. 9, p. 296.
- Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
- Quoted in Muhammad ibn al-Qayyim, al-Waabil al-Sayyib min al-Kalim al-Tayyib (Beirut: Daar al-Bihaar, 1986), p. 73.
- Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Waabil al-Sayyib, p. 73.
- See ibn al-Qayyim, al-Waabil al-Sayyib, pp. 73. Ibn al-Qayyim also quoted ibn Taimiyyah as saying, “If you do not find any sweetness and relaxation in your heart from a [good] deed, then you should suspect your heart. Verily, Allah is grateful. That is, He must reward the doer of a deed for his deed in this world by a sweetness he finds in his heart, a stronger feeling of relaxation and a joy in his eyes. If the person does not find these things, it means that something has entered upon his deed [and made it not correct and purely for Allah’s sake].” See ibn al-Qayyim, Madaarij, vol. 2, p. 68.
- Anas Karzoon, Manhaj al-Islaam fi Tazkiah al-Nafs (Jeddah: Daar Noor al-Maktabaat, 1997), vol. 2, p. 753.
- Muhammad ibn al-Qayyim, Al-Jawaab al-Kaafi liman Sa`ala an al-Dawaa al-Shaafi (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1983), p. 88-89.
- Recorded by al-Bukhari.