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Contentment: The Soul's Mark of Tawhid.


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As-Salaam alaikum,

  In his wok of spiritual discourses titled the FUTUH AL-GHAYB (Openings of the Unseen), Sheikh Abdulqadir al-Jilani, may Allah Ta'ala be Merciful to him, observed that ''three things are required of every believer in all circumstances: A Command to be obeyed, a prohibition to be avoided and a Divine Decree to be accepted with good cheer. In even the most trivial circumstance, one of these 3 is bound to apply. The believer must therefore, at all times, keep his heart focused upon them, and physically carry out what they demand of him.''

This essentialises the true life of a Muslim who is actively seeking the Divine Presence: Loving surrender to Allah through fulfilling the obligations (fara'id), shunning the forbidden (muharramat) and nurturing an inward state of rida bi'l-qada (contentment with the Divine Decree).

Our entire religious life revolve around these three pillars; therefore a seeker's life is about how best to root such pillars in one's life with an eye to actualising them inwardly, otwardly and in every circumstance. Indeed, fulfilling the obligations and shunning whatever is forbidden is the essence of Taqwa- God consciuosness and/or godliness.

In one hadith-qudsi, we learn that Allah Ta'ala said: ''My servant does not draw closer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the obligations I have enjoined upon him...'' (Bukhari, No. 6502)  Our outward state, therefore, must be one that is in conformity with what Allah Commands of forbids, in respect to what we do with our eyes, ears, tongue, stomach, private parts, hands and feet. This requires knowing what is obligatory. Thus this basic knowledge is an oblgation upon every Muslim to learn and to know; no other learning ranks higher than it except, of course, for learning basic Tawhid and Beliefs.

As for the inward virtue of Contentment with Allah's Decree (rida bi'l-qada), it is the key to living the religious life as Allah wants. It is all about knowing that despite the onset of calamities, tragedies or personal loss, all is still in Allah's Hand; under His able control, unfolding according to His wisdom. As such, in the depth of our very being, even if saddened by grief or loss, we at peace with Allah and do not resent His Decree, but continue to do what is required. Rida is the heart's tranquility amidst tribulations. When a Muslim Believer is blessed with inner contentment, life is soothed, anxieties are lifted, the heart is satisfied with what is and stops hankering after what isn't. The Prophet, Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam, stated:-- 

                                             ''He has tasted the sweetness of faith who is content with Allah as Lord, Islam as religion

                                            and with Muhammad as Prophet."  (Muslim, No. 34)

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