Translated Speech of
His Eminence Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan
Shaikh Silsilah Naqshbandiah Owaisiah
Every Muslim holds a rational as well as an emotional relationship with the holy Prophet-saws. Our Prophet is both a guide and a symbol of human excellence in thought and practice, and therefore he is the most beloved for all Muslims. But, love has its own decorum and obligations. By far, the most important of such obligations is total surrender to the will of the beloved. There is no scope either for artificiality or superficiality. Although many Muslims may claim their allegiance to the Prophet's message, an honest evaluation of our belief and conduct reminds us that we woefully fall short of our claim. Think about a Muslim; he claims his allegiance to Allah and His Messenger-saw, but bows his head before every idol that he comes across and his heart is the seat of idol worship. These are the idols that he has carved himself and represent his low desires, baseless customs and innovations. This is evident from his divergence from the way of Allah's Messenger-saw. A Muslim of today has degenerated into idol worship yet regards himself as the adherent of Allah and His Messenger-saw. According to a Hadith, ‘He, who has no love for the Messenger's way is not among the Muslims.’ Also, according to the Quran, He, who follows the Messenger, follows Allah.
But, it requires a sincere heart to understand the implication of this statement. Unfortunately, out hearts have hardened and readily accept everything but truth. Our thoughts, actions, inner and our outer self are in no way a remote reflection of our love for Allah and His Messenger-saw; love basically implies sincere obedience. According to the holy Prophet-saw there is a lump of flesh in the human body, if it is in order, the entire body remains in order; if that organ is in disorder, the whole body would be in disorder… and that lump is the heart. It is therefore necessary that we organise sessions in which we remind ourselves of our duty to Allah and His Messenger-saw, so that we revive our dead hearts and re-invigorate them to receive Allah's Message, which is the sole purpose of our love for the holy Prophet-saw.
Allah's complete and final Message has been conveyed to us through the Quran and the Sunnah. It is our duty to revive our knowledge of Allah's Message as exemplified by the holy Prophet-saw. It is really strange that while the knowledge of Allah's Message is available to one and all, we find an appalling diversity in our actions. How can our actions be different, when we are all beneficiaries of the same source of knowledge and guidance? It may be so because of our lack of sincerity and devotion in acquiring the true knowledge and translating it into practice. Although rain is equally beneficial to all regions of the earth, but practically that does not happen. The effect of rain on a region depends on the region’s natural ability to absorb the rain and benefit from it. An arid terrain remains barren despite rain, as a closed heart remains void despite the guidance of Allah. It is true that we have made our hearts barren and unavailable for knowledge to enter them. Allah speaks of such people in the Quran: Allah has put a seal on their hearts, on their ears, and on their eyes is a cover. This is because of our wilful ignorance and negligence.
Most of us were blessed to be born with the light of Faith, in Muslim homes, but our aversion to the path of Allah, as defined by the Sunnah of the holy Prophet-saw, has pushed us into ignorance. Consequently, in the guise of Prophet's Sunnah we have innovated unfounded customs and traditions that are diametrically opposite to the Sunnah itself. There is no scope of innovation after the holy Prophet-saw has clarified every matter through his personal example. It is therefore, our duty to revive the true Sunnah of our Prophet-saw and give up innovations. This is the only way to secure the best in both worlds. Our waking and sleep, friendship and enmity, all affairs whether domestic or social, should be subservient to the Will of Allah. This is in fact the real success and honour, the glory of which cannot be perceived by our limited intellect.
But if we introspect ourselves and look at our way of life, it is full of hypocrisy; we are hardly Muslims. With our declining faith and decaying conduct, we now take pride in imitating un-Islamic practices and customs. Our lifestyle, dress and habits, everything is but Islamic. The most deplorable fact is, we have not only deviated from the Islamic way, but take pride in following the way of disbelievers. Love for the un-Islamic code is so strong that people are on the constant lookout to find new ways which bring them even closer to the disbelievers. While we do everything that is un-Islamic, we do not want to give up our claim of Islam; here lies our hypocrisy. Such an attitude, though self damaging and self-deceiving, is caused by a false notion that it is wrong to forsake one's cultural heritage.
The Quran appeals to rationale and reason, and mentions that faith and guidance reside within the heart. Those who fill their hearts with avarice and covet worldly pleasures, may not damage their physical health, but their hearts surely begin to decay and die. This is because of their lack of respect for Allah's Commands and disregard of obligations to Him. It is due to their submission to the Devil and his enticement. This fact is highlighted by the Quran: Allah is the Friend of those who believe, He leads them to light out of darkness. Those who disbelieve, their guide is Shaitan, who leads them to darkness out of light.
During the lifetime of the holy Prophet-saw, there were people who rejected the truth after hearing it directly from him and chose to remain disbelievers. We are no better than those wretched people. We take pride in claiming Islam by our tongue, but our actions belie our claims. Why are people so paradoxical in their thoughts and actions? Their thoughts are morbid; their reasoning is confused; they hear but their hearing is impaired to perceive the truth. These signs signify the decay of heart. Due to the deviation from truth and disobedience to Allah, the heart is blotted away, bit by bit, until it becomes impervious to truth and is completely sealed off.
Every person has a direct relationship with his Lord. This relationship is implicit and confidential and no one else can discern it. Every good or bad deed is recorded very accurately and nothing is neglected. On the Day of Judgement, when every person is judged either to be rewarded with Paradise or punished in Hell, Allah's Mercy will allow the holy Prophet-saw to intercede and take out from the Hell every soul that had possessed even an iota of faith in Allah and His Messenger-saw. However, there is a category of people about whom Allah advised His Prophet-saw not to care. No effort to bring them to the right path could avail them. Allah says that He had sealed the hearts of those people because of their callousness and wilful rejection of truth. It is in this state of the heart when facts appear as fiction, and truth appears as falsehood. There is no one else to blame but the rejecters of truth themselves.
To the lovers of truth, recitation of the Quran, in the proper way, evokes a feeling of closeness with truth and time seems to stop. The universe is drawn into a point and the votary experiences sublime bliss in his obedience to Allah and His Messenger-saw. Revival of the heart is very crucial to a Muslim because if the heart is not suffused with Truth, it allows lowly desires to set in. But, how carelessly are we allowing our hearts to decrease their capacity of accepting and retaining the truth. We have gone so far that we denounce the significance of Islamic injunctions. We do read the Quran, but we do it as if we were reading a book of fiction; this certainly affects our conducts. Our hearts may not be totally dead, but they cannot be considered as alive, because they have lost their capability to recognise and firmly reinstate the truth.
The love for Allah is strongly emphasised in the Quran: Say, if you love Allah, follow me (the Messenger of Allah), then Allah will love you. It is mentioned in Hadith: ‘No one among you can be a true believer, unless he regards me dearer than his father, sons and entire mankind.’ This implies that unless one loves the holy Prophet-saw more than every one else, one will not realise the truth of the Message conveyed by him-saw. If someone loves his father, sons or friends more than the holy Prophet-saw, one is likely to place the advice of others over the Prophet's Message. The absolute love to be given to the holy Prophet-saw is for the reason that he conveys to us the absolute Truth.
It is time we bind ourselves in the love of Allah through our devotion to the message brought to us by our beloved Prophet Muhammad-saw. Let the love of Allah be the guiding factor in our lives and in all our deeds. Let our hearts be filled with Allah's pure love and our lives be governed by the example set by His Prophet-saw for us. Let us seek the bounties of this world and learn to harness the resources and the forces of nature for our benefit. But this pursuit should only bring us closer to Allah and His Messenger-saw. Let not the glamour of the worldly pleasures obscure the Truth from us.