Self Improvement Session 3


Continuing from Session 2, today we will be looking at the issue of Submission to Allah and all it entails.  



The second paragraph of the first sermon of Nahjul al Balagha (The Peak of Eloquence) :


The foremost in religion is the acknowledgement of Him, the perfection of acknowledging Him is to testify Him, the perfection of testifying Him is to believe in His Oneness, the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him Pure, and the perfection of His purity is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute.Thus whoever attaches attributes to Allah recognizes His like, and whoever recognises His like regards Him two; and whoever regards Him as two recognises parts for Him; and whoever recognises parts for Him mistook Him; and whoever mistook Him pointed at Him; and whoever pointed at Him admitted limitations for Him; and whoever admitted limitations for Him numbered Him. Whoever said: ‘In what is He?’, held that He is contained; and whoever said: ‘On what is He?’, held He is not on something else.

أَوَّلُ الدِّينِ مَعْرِفَتُهُ، وَكَمَالُ مَعْرِفَتِهِ التَّصْديقُ بِهِ، وَكَمَالُ التَّصْدِيقِ بِهِ تَوْحِيدُهُ، وَكَمَالُ تَوْحِيدِهِ الاخْلاصُ لَهُ، وَكَمَالُ الاخْلاصِ لَهُ نَفْيُ الصِّفَاتِ عَنْهُ، لِشَهَادَةِ كُلِّ صِفَة أَنَّها غَيْرُ المَوْصُوفِ، وَشَهَادَةِ كُلِّ مَوْصُوف أَنَّهُ غَيْرُ الصِّفَةِ، فَمَنْ وَصَفَ اللهَ سُبْحَانَهُ فَقَدْ قَرَنَهُ، وَمَنْ قَرَنَهُ فَقَدْ ثَنَّاهُ،وَمَنْ ثَنَّاهُ فَقَد جَزَّأَهُ، وَمَنْ جَزَّأَهُ فَقَدْ جَهِلَهُ، وَمَنْ جَهِلَهُ فَقَدْ أشَارَ إِلَيْهِ، وَمَنْ أشَارَ إِلَيْهِ فَقَدْ حَدَّهُ، وَمَنْ حَدَّهُ فَقَدْ عَدَّهُ، وَمَنْ قَالَ: «فِيمَ» فَقَدْ ضَمَّنَهُ، وَمَنْ قَالَ: «عَلاَمَ؟» فَقَدْ أَخْلَى مِنُهُ.

He is a Being, but not through phenomenon of coming into being. He exists but not from non-existence. He is with everything but not in physical nearness. He is different from everything but not in physical separation. He acts but without connotation of movements and instruments. He sees even when there is none to be looked at from among His creation. He is only One, such that there is none with whom He may keep company or whom He may miss in his absence.

كائِنٌ لاَ عَنْ حَدَث، مَوْجُودٌ لاَ عَنْ عَدَم، مَعَ كُلِّ شَيْء لاَ بِمُقَارَنَة، وَغَيْرُ كُلِّ شيء لا بِمُزَايَلَة، فَاعِلٌ لا بِمَعْنَى الْحَرَكَاتِ وَالاْلةِ، بَصِيرٌ إذْ لاَ مَنْظُورَ إلَيْهِ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ، مُتَوَحِّدٌ إذْ لاَ سَكَنَ يَسْتَأْنِسُ بهِ وَلاَ يَسْتوْحِشُ لِفَقْدِهِ.




Submission is the process of exercising your free will to acknowledge the relationship between man and God, such that all of the intentions and actions of man are directed in a manner that is pleasing to Allah. So a persons actions, inaction’s, likes, dislikes, love, hate, etc are all based on the desires of God.



Free Will

The assumption that is evident in the issue of submission is that the human being has free will. Submission has no meaning if it is coerced or forced. The fact that humanity has the option of choosing is interesting in itself. The issue of free will is an age old topic and has been debated for centuries. The Shia school of thought has a unique position, and that is that we do not have complete free will, nor are we predestined, but the reality is somewhere in between. 


Imam Hadi  quoting from Imam Sadiq said: “People with regards to ‘destiny’ are of three categories: The first is the one who assumes that Allah has given full authority to him. This (person) has weakened God in His kingdom, thus, he is perished. The second is the one who assumes that God has forced people to sin and He has held them responsible over things that they have no power over. This (person) is unfair to God in His judgment, thus he is perished. The third is the one who assumes God has held people responsible for what they do and does not hold them responsible for what they have no power over. Then when he does something good, he praises God and when he does something evil, he seeks God’s forgiveness. This (person) is a mature Muslim.”


The Imam was also asked about the meaning of ‘a matter in between’. His reply was: “The example of it is, if you see a man committing a sin and you advise him to refrain from it, yet he does not pay any heed to your advice. Surely, just because he didn’t listen to you, it cannot be said that you forced him to sin.”



How do we know if we are submitting to Allah?

If one has truly submitted to Allah, then all of their actions and intentions will be inline with Allah’s wishes for us. The question is, how do we know we have reached that lofty position? How do we know we are doing things for Allah and not for our self. For example, if a man loves his wife, how do we know he does it for Allah and not because she makes him happy and therefore for himself?

If the man’s intention is qurbatan lilla, then if he loves his wife, when she gets closer to Allah, his love for her increases, and as she gets away from Allah eg stops praying or becomes bad, then his love for her reduces.

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