Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Union of God with Man

The Union of God with Man
Dr Billal Philips

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.

Nothing escapes the Allah's knowledge; therefore, the wise are those who act accordingly. They feel His presence at all times. They carefully perform all their obligatory [Fardhu] duties, and then they piously try to make up for any of the inevitable deficiencies by doing a host of voluntary acts. These voluntary acts help to protect the obligatory duties. For example, during times of weakness or spiritual lows, one may become lax in fulfilling one's religious duties. However, those who had voluntary practices would likely neglect some of their voluntary practices, while keeping their obligatory duties intact. If they did not have a protective shield of voluntary acts and they fell into a period of spiritual laziness, some of their obligatory duties are likely to be discarded or neglected.

The more someone strengthens his obligatory practices by performing voluntary acts, the more his life conforms to the Syari'ah, the will of Almighty Allah.

Allah conveyed this principle through the Prophet SAW in a Hadith saying:

"The most beloved thing with which My slave may come close to me is that which I have made obligatory [Fardu] on him. My servant will continue to come closer to me by voluntary acts [of worship] until I love him. If I love him, I will be his hearing by which he hears, his sight by which he sees, his hand by which he grasps, and his foot by which he walks. If he asks Me anything I would give it and if he seeks refuge in Me I would protect him." [137]

This Wali of Allah would only hear, see, grasp and walk to what is Halal [lawful], while conspicuously avoiding all the Haram [prohibited] as well as that which leads towards it. This is the only true goal worthy of dedicating one's life. Its attainment is the perfection of man's dual role as servant of Allah SWT and governor of the world. But, it cannot be reached except by the route prescribed in the Hadith. First the compulsory duties have to be completely established, and then the prescribed voluntary acts of worship have to be performed consistently and according to the Sunnah. Allah emphasized this fact by telling His Prophet to inform the believers:

"Say, if you love Allah, follows me [Muhammad] and Allah will love you."[Surah Ali-'Imran 3:31].

Therefore Allah's love can only be attained by strictly following the directives [Sunnah] of His Apostle SAW and by carefully avoiding all innovations in religious matters. This formula is contained in the following Hadith in which the Prophet SAW was reported by Abu Najeeh to have said:

"Keep to my Sunnah and that of the rightly guided caliphs. Bite on to it with your molars. And beware of innovations, for verily they are all heresy [Bid'ah] and heresy is misguidance which leads to the hellfire." [138]

One who strictly follows this principle will only listen to what Allah wishes for him to listen to. For Allah SWT Says describing the righteous:

"And when the ignorant [mockingly] address them, they merely say: 'Peace'"[Surah Al-Furqan, 25:63].

Elsewhere in the Qur'an Allah SWT also Says:

"He has already revealed to you in the Book, that when you hear the signs of Allah denied and ridiculed, you should not sit with them unless they change the subject. If you did you would be like them."[Surah An-Nisa’ 4:140].

By him listening only to what Allah wishes for him to hear, Allah has metaphorically become his hearing. In a similar way, Allah becomes his sight, hands and feet.

This is the correct interpretation of the previously mentioned Hadith in which Allah states that He will become man's hearing, sight, hands and feet. Unfortunately, this Hadith has been misinterpreted by mystics as support for the concept of union with Allah; May Allah forbid.

137. Reported by Abu Hurairah and collected by Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic - English. vol.8, pp.336-7. No. 509.
138. Collected by Abu Daud (Sunan Abu Daud, (English Trans.) vol.3, p. 1294, no.4590 and At-Tirmidzi.

[Via  MSA].

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