Thursday, May 03, 2007

Message for Friday - Know G'd while alive

وَٱعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَكَ ٱلْيَقِينُ

G'd says in the Qur'an (15:99) - So worship your Lord until certainty comes to you.

The ultimate reality of G'd, according to Islam, will reach every person upon death. Since G'd is a being, who cannot be observed through empirical means, pure rationalists dismiss the reality of G'd. Believers in G'd, however, have certainty in HIS reality in various degrees, but they always believe in HIM.

In Qur'anic language, there are three stages towards perfection of certainty:

علم اليقين
The knowledge of certainty

عين اليقين
The vision of certainty

حق اليقين
The reality of certainty

Pertaining to the first, if one was to tell you about fire and its effects, yet you have never seen fire, you could obtain knowledge and have a level of certainty pertaining to fire. Pertaining to the second, if one then took you towards fire and you witnessed its flames and it actually burning a substance, you could then visualize with certainty that fire exists based upon observation. Pertaining to the third, if one took your hand and stuck it into the fire for a mere moment and it burned you, you would then experience the reality of fire.

On the most basic level, there are people that are told about G'd as children. Many grow up with a belief that G'd is real without having any knowledge of religious scriptures. These people believe in G'd although their actions may be governed by their intuition or their emotions. However, it would be hard to convince them that G'd does not exist.

On a higher level, there are people that are told about G'd and observe HIS signs in religious scriptures and in HIS creation. Although their observations guide their philosophies and idealogies, their actions may not coincide with their observations that inform their belief in G'd. They, nontheless, have a stronger belief in G'd in many ways than the one, who has only been told about G'd.

On the highest level, there are saintly people that experience the reality of G'd, not through empirical observation of G'd, but through their worship and service. What they have been taught, what they have studied, and what they have experienced gives them certitude. These are the people, who in their entire lives worship and serve as if they can see G'd, knowing that they cannot see G'd but having the overwhelming certainty that G'd always sees them. Morever, this certitude governs their lives and sustains their consciousness in all endeavors. These people are rare, the Saintly People of G'd (Awliyaa.

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) taught that worshippers serve G'd within three stages:

1) Muslim (One who adheres to the 5 pillars of Islam) - A basic submitter.

2) Mu'min (One who believes in the articles of faith such as believing in One G'd, HIS angels, HIS books, HIS messengers, HIS decree & the Day of Resurrection) - A more informed servant.

3) Muhsin (One who worships G'd as if he can see HIM, knowing that he cannot see HIM, but knowing that G'd always sees him) - A perfect servant.

And surely G'd knows best.

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