Dear brothers and sisters, one of the most fundamental lessons that our prophet SAWS was sent with was purifying one self. Ayat 2 of Sura Al-Jumma translates in reference to this to say:
It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom – although they were before in clear error.
When we think of purifying oneself, it can be interpreted in different ways. It can be physically and we know this through ritual cleansing we do before each salat called ablution or wudu.
However, the topic of today’s reminder is more of a spiritual purification and this is achieved through Taqwa or the awareness of our Creator, both in seclusion when we are alone, as well as in the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life around others.
If we look at the word ihsan, a core trait we need to have as Muslims, scholars have agreed that the definition of this word can be such that it is:
‘To worship Allah as you see him and if you don’t see Him then He sees you’
However, it is one thing saying this and another to apply it oneself. Ihsan is being acutely aware of our actions and intentions even if we are able to conceal it from every other human being.
As Allah SWT says in the 5th ayat of Sura Al-Imran:
Indeed, from Allah nothing is hidden in the earth nor in the heaven.
So what is the benefit or wisdom to having this mindset? To make oneself acutely aware of the presence of Allah SWT in and around everything they do has it’s blessings and these are mentioned in today’s reminder.
Firstly, the most obvious, is that to be consciously aware of the presence of Allah SWT will keep us away from transgressing against Him. It will prevent us from committing sin.
Another benefit of being conscious of Allah SWT at all times is that we are likely to perfect our worship. If we look at the example of when we are in the presence of the teacher as they walk around the classroom, we consciously work harder when we know the teacher is watching us, yes? The same ought to be applied to when we are performing salah, doing ablution or any other act of worship, we should remind ourselves that Allah SWT is directly watching us and how we are doing this act of worship. This in turn will lead us to want to improve that action to the point of perfection for the sake of Allah SWT.
And that leads us on to the third blessing and that is when we are mindful of the presence of Allah SWT then it keeps our intentions pure and correct. For example, if we come to the night prayers during this month for the intention of meeting up with friends and socialising before and afterwards then the danger is that the act of worship will be wasted. However, if we remind ourselves before we enter the masjid each evening that we are entering the house of Allah SWT and that He is here and watching us directly, it resets our intention to the correct mindset and that is performing the night prayers for His sake. Of course, we can still meet up with each other afterwards but it highlights in our minds the real primary purpose of our evening visit to the masjid.
On the flip side, we also have negative impacts of not being God-conscious. A couple of them were mentioned in todays reminder.
Firstly, there are those who are two-faced, in that they behave hypocritically. These are those people who look pious on the surface, but privately commit sin in the hope that it escapes accountability.
The imam mentioned a hadith in relation to this which said:
“I certainly know people of my nation who will come on the Day of Resurrection with good deeds like the mountains of Tihamah, but Allah will make them like scattered dust.” Thawban said: “O Messenger of Allah, describe them to us and tell us more, so that we will not become of them unknowingly.” He said: “They are your brothers and from your race, worshipping at night as you do, but they will be people who, when they are alone, transgress the sacred limits of Allah.”
May Allah SWT protect us from this trait. Secondly, there are those who are those openly share their sins with others, may Allah SWT protect us from them also. The imam mentioned the following hadith in relation to this which is translated to say:
I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying. “All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahirin (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning, and says, ‘O so-and-so, I did such-and-such (evil) deed yesterday,’ though he spent his night screened by his Lord (none knowing about his sin) and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we have identified the blessing of gaining Taqwa, or awareness of Allah SWT and we also know of the dangers if we do not have Taqwa. The reminder concludes with 2 ways in which we can achieve God consciousness.
- By knowing Allah SWT through His names and his attributes as described in the Quran. For many of us, we are conscious that the Quran speaks of the 99 names of Allah SWT but we can become God conscious by talking to Allah SWT in our supplications and use those 99 words in context. For example when we are speaking to him as our protecting friend in duas, we can refer to then name Al-Wali or when we are supplicating for our wealth, we can refer to the name Ar-Razzaq.
- By knowing Allah SWT through the direct connection of the Quran. Dear brothers and sisters, we have been sent a direct communication from Allah SWT. Surely, we ought to then make the effort to ponder over what has been said. Whether it is recitation or the study of it’s ayats, our attempts to become more aware of Allah SWT can only be helped through the effort we make in understanding the message He has sent us.
Dear brothers and sisters, todays reminder is key to our success in life. Let’s use these blessed days to improve in our connection with Allah SWT and our conscious awareness of Him with us at all times.