By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
07 June 2018
The subject of attaining inner peace and satisfaction addresses a universal need. Every individual on this planet desires inner peace. A leader of a country or its minister, master or servant, rich or poor, billionaire or penniless, all hanker after enjoying internal comfort, satisfaction and prosperity. Pondering over expansion of this goal, it can be estimated that even politicians, individuals, militant or extremist organizations aim at coming to power in a bid to acquire self-satisfaction. It is a different matter that some of them desire to achieve this goal through snatching others’ peace, some through killing civilians, some through voting or intimidation.
There are countries which feel self-satisfaction and peace by turning other countries into cultural, intellectual and mental slaves and establishing their powerful kingdom or ruling over the entire world. Apart from that, whether it is concerning Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Burma, Afghanistan, Nigeria or anywhere else, the elements playing their worst or most inhumane roles in such oppressing or oppressed countries directly or indirectly aim at one particular goal, that is, to create such an environment, position, authority or sultanate where they can get all means of self-comfort and personal peace. In short all the residents of this planet have the same goal but some want to acquire it by oppressing others and some by disregarding the concept of others’ comfort or pain.
Dear friends! The question arises, how to attain inner peace and satisfaction? It is problematic that we want to reach our goal without thinking of this question. As a result we fail to attain peace, tranquillity, justice and solace of heart. Possibly it is difficult for the busy individuals living in this material world to find out the answer. But the Quran has clearly revealed its relevant divine message to the entire humanity;
“Those who accepted faith and whose hearts gain solace from the remembrance of Allah; pay heed! Only in the remembrance of Allah is the solace of hearts” (13:28)
The solace of heart is a great wealth. He who attains it is truly successful, even though he is a poor man in the eyes of others. The solace of heart is so precious for him that only he can sense its importance. On the contrary, he who fails to achieve this solace of heart is unable to enjoy real achievement of life, even though he is a billionaire or king of treasure. Though such a man outwardly looks successful, he is actually restless within himself. He does not even realize that he has failed to attain what he succeeded for.
Indeed we should make effort to meet our personal needs such as bread, cloth and house. However we should remember that the solace of heart lies in the remembrance of Allah Almighty.
The verse 13:28 quoted above is one of the main scriptural foundations for the Sufi practice of Dhikr Allah or remembrance of Allah. This verse refers to perfection of soul. For example, we find three levels of the soul on the basis of the Quranic references. The first level is the “soul that commands to evil (al-Nafs al-Ammara bil-su)” (12:53). This is the soul that calls a person to submit to his or her base desires and those actions or thoughts which make him forget Allah and do against His Command. The second soul is the blaming soul (75:2), and finally is transformed into the soul at peace (89:27). So it becomes clear that the Quran represents solace of heart as the state of the perfected soul.
There are many Prophetic sayings about the remembrance of Allah. Some of them are as follows;
It is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) once asked his Companions, “Shall I tell you about the best of all deeds, the best act of piety in the eyes of your Lord, which will elevate your status in the Hereafter, and which carries more virtue than the spending of gold and silver in the service of God or taking part in jihad and slaying or being slain in the way of God? They replied: ‘Yes, indeed,’ and he said: ‘It is the remembrance of Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi). So from this Hadith it is learnt that the remembrance of Allah is the best deed.
It is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah says, “I treat My servant as he hopes that I would treat him. I am with him whenever he remembers Me: if he thinks of Me, I think of him; if he mentions Me in company, I mention him in an even better company. If he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; and if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw closer by a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him……” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “For everything there is a polish, and the polish of the heart is the remembrance of Allah.” (Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (4/352)) Constant remembrance and invocation of Allah polishes the heart. When a heart becomes totally polished, the Reality that stands before it, namely, Allah Almighty, is reflected in it without the barrier of the human ego. It is this kind of purified heart to whom allusion is made in the famous Hadis-e-Qudsi, “The heavens and the earth cannot contain Me, but the heart of My faithful servant can contain Me.”
By remembrance of Allah, not only does a person find solace of heart but also a spiritual power to maintain virtues of tolerance, patience, forbearance, forgiveness and peace towards every human being. Thus he becomes a perfect man. A great Sufi Imam Abul Qasim Qushairi writes in his book, “There are two types of remembrance; the remembrance of the tongue and the remembrance of the heart. The continual remembrance of the tongue eventually brings the servant to the remembrance of the heart. The true effect, however, lies in the remembrance of the heart. If the servant is able to perform remembrance with both his tongue and his heart, he has achieved perfection in both his personal state and his wayfaring.” (Abul Qasim al-Qushairi’s Risala Qushairiyyah).
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is a Classical Islamic scholar with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Writer and Translator.