In the Name of Allah, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful.
In Ayah 44 of Surah al-Baqarah God says:
أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
"Will you bid others to piety and forget yourselves, while you recite the Book? Do you not apply reason?" (2:44)
In the previous episode there were Ayahs on God’s reprimanding the Jewish clerics because of their concealing the right and not allowing people to understand it. In continuation of the previous Ayahs this Ayah means to say: you Jewish clerics and dignitaries used to give good news concerning advent of the Last and Final Prophet and used to call on people to embrace his message, but now that he has come why don’t you yourselves accept his message and mission, while you are more familiar with the Torah?
Although these Ayahs address the Israelites and their clerics they have a broader connotation to include all missionaries of all creeds and religions.
Imam Ja’far Sadeq (PBUH), the sixth infallible successor of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny), says in this regard: Invite people towards good deeds through your actions rather than your tongues.
In another beautiful piece of advice, the Commander of the Faithful and the First Infallible Successor of the Prophet of Islam, Imam Ali (PBUH) says: O people! By God I do not encourage you to any act of obedience unless I myself have already done it, neither do I deter you from committing any wrong unless I have shunned from committing it.
What a beautiful piece of advice!
According to the holy Qur’an the clergyman who does not act what he himself preaches is likened to a donkey which carries merely a load of books without himself benefiting from them. It means that others benefit from the books but the donkey does not benefit save the burden of the books!
Now let’s listen to Ayah 45 of this surah:
وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ
"And take recourse in patience and prayer, and it is indeed hard except for the humble." (2:45)
Resistance against outward problems or inward carnal desires is the best aid for man to restore his forces in everyday life. Thus he becomes obedient only to God.
According to some narrations the word ‘Sabr’ or patience in this Ayah means fasting but patience has a broader sense and fasting is one of its meanings. To make the discussion clearer it is worth mentioning that the Prophet of Islam once said: There are three kinds of patience – patience against mishap and disaster, patience against sin and disobedience of God, and patience in acts of worships and fulfillment of divine duties.
Imam Sadeq (Peace be upon him) has also said: Whenever you are engulfed in sorrows perform ablution, go to the mosque and perform prayers and supplicate since God has commanded to seek help from prayers.
It must be reminded that prayer has such a lofty status only in the eyes of the humble and the cordially pure people, and those who are not humble consider it an irksome burden to the extent that they flee it.
Ayah 46 of surah al-Baqarah reads:
الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَاقُو رَبِّهِمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
"---Those who are certain that they will encounter their Lord, and that they will return to Him." (2:46)
Belief in the afterlife and the return to God revives the feeling of humbleness, the fear of God and responsibility in man so that his life resembles a court in which he must stand accountable for what he does.
‘Liqaollah’ does not mean seeing God with the two eyes but it means to see the His power in punishment and reward. This is a sort of inward sensing (or Shohood) as if the individual sees God in his heart.
One of the companions of Imam Ali (PBUH) once asked him: Have you seen your God? The Imam answered: Shall I worship the God I haven’t seen? The he explained that the outward eyes cannot see God but the hearts can sense and realize Him via the light of faith.
Now let’s listen to Ayah 47 of surah al-Baqarah:
يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَنِّي فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ
"O Children of Israel, remember My blessing which I bestowed upon you, and I gave you advantage over all the nations." (2:47)
One of the divine favours to the ancient Israelites was their deliverance from the dominance of the tyrannical Pharaoh. Then God gave them land and showered bounties upon them to enjoy a luxurious life, as a form of divine test. This Ayah expresses the favours to the Israelites as a divine test compared to other contemporary nations. It calls on them to be thankful for the divine blessings which came about through Moses’ leadership.
From these three Ayahs we learn that:
1. Inviting people practically towards good deeds is the best way. We should act our words before others.
2. To overcome problems two things are necessary, namely patience and prayer as the best bond between man and God.
3. Not only certitude and faith in the afterlife, but also imagining it is enough to enlighten man and deter him from committing sins and wrongs, brings rewards.
4. Obeying divine messengers and leaders not only ensures man to enter paradise in the afterlife but makes him superior to others and provides him with bounties and blessings in the world.
Well friends on that note we come to the end of this week’s episode. Till another episode God bless you all.
Translated by: R. Mansouri