Payaam-e-Maghrib = Payaam-e-Mashriq = Payaam-e-Qur'an?

Jul 29, 2006

He taught everyone how knowledge was key to success - Talabul ilmi fareedah.

He showed them how cleanliness of body, mind, place and clothes was vital to good living.

He asked them to eat and drink only that which was good and to avoid eating and drinking all that which was bad.

He explained to them that marriage was a good thing and therefore must be pursued, appreciated and protected. He also explained to them at the same time that divorce, though permissible in extreme cases, was a bad thing and therefore must be avoided as much as possible.

He pointed out that loving and fearing God in heaven meant loving and serving his creation right here on earth, even if all you do is to save the life of a dog dying of thirst in a desert or release a starving cat out of a cage so it can forage for food.

He told people to always tell the truth, even if it were against their own best interests.

That is just some of what that illiterate man from an illiterate culture taught the world - 1400 years ago. And the world has taken all these 1400 years trying to catch up with his teachings. And it is still working on doing so.

Payaam-e-Islam = Payaam-e-Muslim?

And if all this is the real message of Islam, and the method of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, then should it also not be the message - and the method - of every Muslim, wherever that Muslim maybe? When this message - and the method of love and service and sacrifice associated with it - is fully understood and internalized, what difference does it make where a Muslim is located physically? Whether he or she is located in the East or in the West - or somewhere else?

So, all that I have been saying so far boils down to one thing: Payaam-e-Islam = Pyaam-e-Muslim!

So, regardless of where we are in terms of time and space, the basic message and methodology of Islam remain the same. What changes is people's understanding of that message and that method and their abilities and skills to fit them to the changing demands and circumstances of an ever-changing world.

A Wonderful State of Permanent Peace

What a marvelous equation Allah taught his slaves! An equation that guarantees us permanence in the midst of change and shows us how to deal with change itself, which is an inevitable and defining characteristic of all life in this impermanent and transient world - this world of being and becoming as that beautiful Muslim expression puts it: Kaa-i-naat.

Because that other world that is yet to come - Aakhirah - is a very different world. It is no longer a world in flux and transition; it is a permanent state of being and rest at the end of the long and eventful journey of life. It is a peace at the end of life's long tunnel of turbulence.

Laa yasma'oona feehaa laghwan wa laa ta'theema. Illaa qeelan salaaman salaamaa. Paraprase: They shall hear in it neither wasteful talk nor sinful speech. But rather only saying everywhere "Peace! Peace!"

And that whole wonderful state of permanent peace and bliss will be capped off the only way that makes sense: Wa aakhiru da'waahum anil-hamdu lillaahi rabbil 'aalameen. Paraphrase: And their final assertion will be, "All praise belongs to Allah the master of the worlds."

Nothing but Slaves!

And in the midst of all this, we continue to be slaves of Allah. That is right. Slaves, not servants as some of us would like to upgrade our status. Slave was good enough for our masters, the illustrious Biblical prophets, Allah bless them all. And that includes the mighty Prophet-King Solomon, Alaihis Salam.

Surely, Jesus, son of Mary, Allah bless them both, did not and would not mind being a slave of Allah: Lany-yastankifal Maseehu anyyakoona 'abdal-lillah!

Allah says so in the Qur'an. And what a slave he was, says Allah about Solomon, Alaihis Salam. So given to turning to his master all the time. Ni'mal 'abd. Innahu Awwaab.

A master being pleased and proud - what else can a slave want? Isn't that what a slave's life is all about: turning to his master all the time - and for everything? That is who Hazrat Sulaiman, Alaihis Salam, was.

As was Hazrat Ayyub, Alaihis Salam - Job as the Bible calls him.

How proudly the Qur'an describes them both: "Ni'mal 'abd: What a slave!"

One surrounded by immense wealth, power, majesty, glory and prosperity and the other mired in abject distress, penury, ill-health and helplessness. Two poles that sum up the full range of human conditions between them. And yet both of them nothing but Allah's slaves as Allah makes a point of calling them.

And then Hazrat Zakariyya Alaihis Salam! And then Hazrat Nuh Alaihis Salam - the super-patriarch of all of Allah's prophets and messengers. Allah refers to them all as his slaves.

And then that prince of peace, as the Christians refer to him, the supreme miracle of fatherless motherhood, Hazrat Jesus, Alaihis Salam! Listen to the way he introduces himself as an infant in the arms of his mother to a skeptical audience of his people: Innee 'Abdulllah! "I am Allah's slave!"

How much more clear or definitive does it get?

I Would Like to Know

By the way, since we are talking about Hazrat Isa Alaihis Salam, have you ever read - in any book in any language - a sweeter, gentler and more tender account of the virgin birth of God's beloved prophet, Jesus, may God bless him, than the one the Qur'an gives you?

And a more respectful, supportive and sympathetic treatment of his mother Mary's (may God bless her) ordeal of childbirth and her encounter with her people when she returns to them after a prolonged and mysterious absence with infant Jesus (may God bless him) in her arms?

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