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Chapter of Contemplation [Muraaqaba]
The verses concerning this are many and well known.
After mentioning the chapter concerning Truthfulness and the verses and ahadeeth pertaining to it, the author follows this up with the chapter concerning Contemplation. There are two aspects to contemplation:
1. That you contemplate Allah, Azza wa Jall
2. That you know that Allah is watching you as He says,
“Who sees you when you stand up (for prayer), and your movements along with those who fall prostrate.”
“He is with you wheresoever you may be.”
“Truly nothing is hidden from Allah, in the earth or in the heavens.”
“Indeed your Lord is Ever-Watchful (over them)”
“Allah knows the fraud of the eyes and all that the breasts conceal.”
“And Allah is Ever a Watcher (Raqeebaa) over all things.”
As for your contemplating Allah then this is that you know that Allah, the Exalted, Knows your every saying, action, or belief, as He said,
“And put your trust in the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful Who sees you when you stand up (for prayer) and your movements along with those who fall prostrate.”
“Who sees you as you stand” meaning at night, when the person stands in a place in seclusion from others such that no one would see him, but Allah, Subhaanahu wa Taaalaa, sees Him even if he be in the darkest and most intense of darknesses.
“And your movements along with those who prostrate” meaning: and you move along with all those who prostrate to Allah in this hour, for indeed Allah sees a person when he stands and prostrates. Standing and prostrating have been (specifically) mention because standing in prayer is better than prostration with respect to the remembrance of Allah, and prostration is better with respect to its appearance and condition. As for the standing being better than the prostration with respect to remembrance then this is because the legislated remembrance in the state of standing is the recitation of the Quraan and the Quraan is the noblest of speech. As for the prostration being better than the standing with respect to its appearance and condition then this is because the person in the state of prostration is closest to His Lord, Azza wa Jall, as is established from the Prophet (saws) when he said:
“The closest a person is to His Lord is when he is in prostration.”
This is why we have been commanded to increase our supplications while in prostration.
Also from your contemplating Allah is that you know that Allah hears every single thing that you say as He said
“or do they think that We Hear not their secrets and private discourse? (Indeed We do) and Our Messengers are by them, to record.”
And along with this, that you know that every good or evil thing that you say, be it openly or secretly then it is written for or against you. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted says
“not a word does he utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it)”
Know this, and beware! Beware that their emit from your tongue a saying which will count against you on the Day of Judgement. Make sure that your tongue is continuously articulating the truth or that it remains silent as the Messenger of Allah (saws) said:
“whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day then let him speak only good or remain silent.”
(Also from your contemplating Allah) is that you do so with regards to your secrets and what is in your heart. Look to what is in your heart! Associating partners with Allah, showing off, deviations, jealousy, hatred and dislike displayed towards the Muslims, love of the disbelievers and other such things that Allah is not Pleased with. Supervise and be attentive to your heart for Allah has said
“indeed We created man, and We know what his own self whispers to him.”
So contemplate Allah in these three places, in your actions, your saying and your heart so that your contemplation may be complete. This is why, when the Prophet (saws) was asked about Ihsaan, he replied
“that you worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then indeed He sees you.”
Worship Allah as if you see Him and witness Him with the eye, and if you do not see Him then go to the next station below this: then indeed He sees you.
So the first station is to worship Him out of hope and desire. The next is to worship Him out of fear and awe this is why he said, “and if you do not see Him, then indeed He sees you.”
So it is necessary for the person to contemplate His Lord and that he know that Allah is watching over you. Anything that you say or do or keep secret, Allah, Exalted is He, Knows it. The author has mentioned a number of verses that prove this and began with the verse that we have already mentioned
“and put your trust in the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful Who sees you when you stand up (for prayer) and your movements along with those who fall prostrate.”
Muaadh bin Jabal reported from the Messenger of Allahﷺ that he said
“Fear Allah wheresoever you may be, and follow up an evil deed with a good one, it will efface it (the evil deed). And deal with mankind with good manners.” Reported by at-Tirmidhee and he said that it was a Hasan hadeeth.
[al-Haakim reports it in al-Mustadrak and states that it meets the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim. Adh-Dhahabee agreed.]
This hadeeth is one of the Forty Ahaadeeth of the author, may Allah have mercy upon him, and in it is that the Prophet (saws) gave three great and important pieces of advice:
The First: He said, “have taqwaa of Allah wheresoever you may be.” Taqwaa means to stay away from the forbidden matters and to enact the obligatory matters this is taqwaa! That you enact what Allah has commanded you, sincerely for Allah and in compliance to the Messenger of Allah (saws), and that you leave what Allah has forbidden due to His prohibiting it and to steer clear of it.
For example that you establish the greatest obligation that Allah has imposed upon you after the testimony of faith the prayer, and you establish it completely – fulfilling all of its conditions and pillars and obligations, fulfilling all of these perfectly. So whosoever leaves off any of these conditions, pillars or obligations then he has not feared Allah (to the best of his ability), rather he has been deficient in this to the extent of what he left out.
In Zakaah, the taqwaa of Allah lies in your calculating all of your property on which the zakaah is due, and your giving the zakaah as a means of purifying yourself without any miserliness or tightfistedness, or delay. And whosoever does not do this than he has not feared Allah.
In fasting, the taqwaa of Allah lies in your establishing the fast as you have been commanded, distancing yourself from idle speech, obscene words and mannerisms, boisterous behaviour, backbiting and spreading tales and other such things that would make the fast deficient and remove the spirit of fasting. The true meaning of fasting is to fast from that which Allah, Azza wa Jall, has made forbidden.
The same applies to all of the obligations that are used to establish obedience to Allah, and compliance to His command, sincerely for Him and in following His Messenger. Likewise all the forbidden actions are to be left in compliance to His prohibition.
The Second: “and follow up an evil deed with a good one, it will efface it (the evil deed).” Meaning that when you perform an evil action then follow it up with a good action for the good action effaces the evil. And from the good actions to be performed after the evil is that you repent to Allah for this evil action, for indeed repentance is from the most noble and excellent of the good actions as Allah has said
“indeed Allah Loves those who repent and those who purify themselves.”
And He said
“and repent to Allah all of you, O believers so that you may be successful.”
Similarly righteous actions expiate the evil actions as the Prophet (saws) said
“The five daily prayers and one Jumuah to the next Jumuah, and one Ramadaan to the next Ramadaan, is an expiation for what lies between them as long as one refrains from the major sins.” [Muslim]
and he said
“one Umrah to the next is an expiation for what is between them.” [Bukhaari]
Therefore the good actions efface the evil.
The Third: “and deal with mankind with good manners.” The first two pieces of advice were those related to relationship with the Creator, the third relates to relationship of the creation to the creation. This being to deal with mankind with the best manners such that you will be praised and not blamed. This by having a cheerful complexion, being truthful in speech, speaking to others nicely and other such good manners.
There are a large number of texts concerning the excellence of having good manners to the extent that the Messenger (saws) said
“The most complete believer with respect to faith is the one with the best manners.”
And he informed us that the most deserving of mankind to him (saws) and the closest to him in ranking on the Day of Judgement would be those with the best manners.
So noble manners, along with their being a way to beautify gatherings and the person who possesses them being beloved to the people, contain a huge reward which will bestowed upon the person on the Day of Judgement.
So preserve these three pieces of advice from the Prophet (saws) and Allah is the Grantor of Success.