Hajj is on the horizon. And our thoughts turn to Ibrahim, patriarch of prophets, and the family of his chosen House.
We Muslims in countless ways are the answer to his prayers. This sounds conceited. I mean nothing of the sort. Ibrahim's was a solicitous and clement heart. And Allah is an all- merciful, all-giving Lord. We Muslims are nothing more than under serving beneficiaries of the exchange between them, and the miraculous advent of the du 'a of Ibrahim; namely, his most comparable and spiritually direct prophetic descendent, the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam.
Remember Ibrahim's prayer?
"Our Lord! And send forth among our descendants a messenger from their own midst who shall recite to them Your verses, and teach them the revealed Book and the way of prophetic wisdom, and purify them. Indeed, it isYou,You alone who are the Overpowering One, the All-Wise" [2:129]
What a way to purity on every conceivable level we have been given, we Muslims, and all who would come humbly to the Qur'an and the model of our chosen Messenger-all of us in humanity in our time!
And Allah, in the Qur'an's very next verse, remarks on exactly this. "Now, who but one who fools himself could be averse to the sacred way of Abraham?" [2:130]
For all the talk going on around us Muslims, about us Muslims, and increasingly from us Muslims about this national narrative, and that founding document, and the great accomplishment of some such people, the truth is we know very well there is only one way left to the purity man and the world so direly need. And, of course, the Qur'an is unabashedly right. Whoever denies this or belies it is nothing but a fool, deceiving himself and all those he claims to love and honor into destruction.
It is all about this: Purifying one- self for the appointed Meeting with the true and only God, from whence we have come and to whom we are ineluctably returning for judgment. All talk of success, of greatness, of glory, of victory, of overcoming is nothing but boasting and arrogant misguidance, utterly devoid of meaning, except by this ultimate and everlastingly decisive measure.
"Truly he has succeeded who purifies himself [with sincere faith], and mentions the name of his Lord [in glory], and then prays [the daily salah]" [87:14-15].
There is a spirit, a ruh in the revealed words of the Qur'an, sewn into our bodies that is us. Yet of it we know very little, even though it is who we are. It comes to us soon after our conception, originally pure, the true and proper condition into which we are born. It is set this way by its one and only Creator. And that is the way we must return it to its Owner, Allah! We must bring it back to him in the self-same condition of initial purity in which He graciously provided it to us.
Along the way because we are human beings, not angels, because we are meant to make mistakes, succumb to our passionate clay natures, sin-and despite the heavenly knowledge we have and because of the infinite knowledge we can, by our natures, never attain-we must find a way to cleanse this spirit that we tarnish, to polish and renew it. This part-earthen, part-celestial human spirit goes by another name, the soul.
"And by the soul and Him who fashioned it-and informed it with [consciousness of] its wickedness and its righteousness! Truly, whoever purifies it has succeeded. And truly, whoever defiles it has failed" [91:7-10].
The critical question for us so briefly upon this earth is how do we purify our souls so that we can return them to our Maker and Judge as He has required in exchange for our very lives and our eternity?
Article provided by Al Jumuah Magazine, a monthly Muslim lifestyle publication, which addresses the religious concerns of Muslim families across the world.
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