We, Alhamdulillah, have come closer to a few surahs and some important ayaat of the Holy Qur’ān – like Surah Al-Asr, Surah Al-Baquara (ayat 177), Surah Al-Muminun (ayaat 1-11) and Surah Al-Marij (ayaat 22-35) and Surah Luqman (ayaat 12-19) – during the last few weeks. Most of the above mentioned ayaat are, actually, advice that we get from the Qur’ān as related to our character building. These ayaat talk about the foundation on which our character’s structure should stand. Once we start acting on the information that we have gathered in the mentioned aayat, there will a sure shot transformation in our lifestyle which will start reflecting automatically. This will add finishing touches to our personality, making it a matured one and like the one which is liked and loved by Allah the Exalted, having the following salient features as mentioned in the last ruku of Surah Al-Furquan, ayaat 63-77.
The first and foremost consequence on adopting the characteristics as mentioned in the above referred to ayaat would be reflected in the way we walk and react to the unpleasing and satirical comments of others. Our attitude will change so thoroughly that it can be seen at the first sight from our “gait” (the way we walk) only – as we will be noble, humble and good-natured people, who cannot be expected to indulge in any mischief. This is because if the simple truth as stated in the surahs and ayaat – as referred to in first paragraph – are engraved on our heart and penetrates our soul, it will revolutionise our point of view, change our values, and transform our day-to-day life dramatically. What we used to think most important earlier will appear to be most trivial, and what was insignificant before will become significant.
Secondly, if we happen to come across people who behave rudely and disrespectfully towards us, we will wish them peace and turn away. The same thing has been expressed in Surah Al-Qasas: 55, thus: “And when they hear something vain and absurd they turn away from it, saying, ‘our deeds are for us and your deeds are for you: peace be to you: we have nothing to do with the ignorant.”
Now, the next step in giving finishing touches to our matured personality as mentioned in the last ruku of Surah Al-Furquan, ayaat 63-77, is that now the bar has been raised. Until now, as we have seen in the ayaat as mentioned in the first paragraph, the stress was on salat – its performance, establishment and constancy. Once we have achieved that and find ourselves at a higher level of purification of the inner soul, we are now advised to pass some part of our nights in prostrating and standing before Allah the Exalted. This refers to additional salah i.e. nafl and more precisely tahajudd prayer so as to ensure that our ibadah (worship) and good characteristics have not made us vain and proud to presume that we are the beloved ones of Allah the Exalted.
On the other hand, in spite of all our iman, ibadaat and amal-e-saleh, we are so tilled with the fear of the torment of jahannam that we pray to Allah the Exalted to save us from it, for we do not depend upon our own work for success in the aakhirah (the Hereafter) but upon the mercy of Allah the Exalted. This characteristic has been brought out clearly at several places in the Holy Qur’ān, thus: “Can the end of the one, who is obedient to Allah, prostrates himself and stands before Him during the hours of the night, fears the Hereafter and places his hope in the mercy of his Lord, be like that of a mushrik” (Az-Zumar: 9). One important point to be noted here is that when we attain some sort of birr or neki (righteousness) or higher level of piety we become more prone to shaitan who tries to boost our ego making us proud, we start looking others as inferior and so on. Thus, all our birr or neki (righteousness) or higher level of piety go in vain and will have no weight before Allah the Exalted on the Day of Judgment and it shall only remain as a tool with which we fooled ourselves and others in duniya. May Allah the Exalted save us from such moves of shaitan.
Next feature of a matured personality is that he adopts the principle of etedal (balance) in every aspect of his life. It is neither that a matured personality becomes miser when hard-pressed nor becomes extravagant in spending when in plenty. He remains composed and balanced in both the extremes as he realises fully well that whatever the situation it is by the Will of Allah the Exalted and he should remain thankful to Him whatever the circumstances. Here, in the mentioned ayaat of Surah Furquan reference has been made in connection with spending of money: “who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor miserly but keep the golden mean between the two (extremes)” (25:67).
They neither go beyond prudence and necessity in expenditure nor live in miserable circumstances in order to save and hoard money but are careful. It is very important for us to understand the concept of israf (being extravagant) and bukhl (being miser) in Islam so that we might not overlook the same in our day-to-day life and could always adopt the principle of the golden mean.
According to Islam israf (extravagance) is: (1) To spend even the smallest amount of money in unlawful ways, (2) to go beyond one’s own resources in expenditure even in lawful ways, or to spend money for one’s own pleasure, and (3) to spend money in righteous ways not for the sake of Allah but for mere show. On the other hand, one is miserly if one does not spend money for one’s own needs and requirements and those of one’s family in accordance with one’s resources and position, or if one does not spend money on good work. The way taught by Islam is the golden mean between the two extremes. The Holy Prophet has said, “It is a sign of wisdom to adopt the “golden mean” in one’s living.” (Ahmad, Tabarani).
It is important for us to understand through example what actually is meant by point (2) to go beyond one’s own resources in expenditure even in lawful ways, or to spend money for one’s own pleasure, and point (3) to spend money in righteous ways not for the sake of Allah but for mere show. Point (1) to spend even the smallest amount of money in unlawful ways is clear and needs no further explanation. We must have nourishing food for our dinner and lunch – it is necessary – but to have a plenty of different dishes for our lunch and dinner or even in our parties is israf (extravagance). May Allah the Exalted save us from it! Clothes are necessary but to have our wardrobe full of clothes will fall under israf and we will have to account for these on the Day of Judgment.
It is, basically, israf that leads us to debt, loans and interest. Just for the sake of our materialistic gains and pursuits we start spending beyond our resources and start feeling the need for more and more money and thus cross all the limit of halal (lawful) and unlawful (haram) in order to meet our demands. This may give pleasure to us – we may enjoy status in the society – in this world but ultimately our life becomes miserable and certainly these are not the things that Allah the Exalted likes. It is better to remain and pass a balanced life with contentment.
Lastly, “Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allâh has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers, etc.) with Him”. 3:14.
(to be continued)