ASURU MASHWARA: BEING A MUSLIM
The practice of the five pillars of Islam is the practical manifestation of a person being a Muslim. Of which only the five prayers are the only daily compulsory action one needs to perform. In that sense this is a very easy practice. Just fifteen or twenty minutes each and we have a dose of meditation, reflection and relaxing physical exercise. These give us a moment to reflect within the busy day we all seem to inhabit.
Islam in its essence is about submitting to the will of Allah; this is being in the natural flow of our creation. Everything and everyone submits to the will of the Creator consciously or subconsciously. Islam is unlike any other in that Muslims don’t worship a manifesting deity. It worships an imageless Creator. Its practice is a way of life that has values and ways revealed by the Creator. Animals and plants and weather and climate all submit to the will of the Creator. It has to be so for the whole of this profound biosphere to survive. This is the essence of being in submission to the laws that be. Humans are the only ones that have a clear advantage of having free will, to discern right from wrong and because of this, we have been sent into this world as its vicegerents. That is why we must take what we have been given here as a test of our eligibility for the Hereafter. Hardship, pain and suffering are the tests of our endurance and humility and submission to the will of the Creator. When we do so with patience and forbearance, we pass the test and are liberated with the Grace of the Creator to enter the Garden beyond.
Submission is about being a true servant of the Creator. It takes strong belief, and fervent desire for the Hereafter, and personal commitment. This belief becomes easier when we think of death as an eventuality that might happen at anytime. Thus, we have no time to waste or imagine that we can do mischief today and repent later. No one knows when death comes and so we must be like a traveller on this earth, ready to depart anytime. This conviction makes us do good things and be ready to help others and sew concord in our surrounds. We are then ready for unconditional giving and expressing and experiencing the love that is the result of it.
A Muslim’s timeless advice is revealed in the Holy Quran and in the teachings and life of the Prophet Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him), the last and final Messenger to the whole of humanity. This coming of the final messenger is mentioned in the sacred scriptures of many other religions such as in Christianity (as the Comforter who will come), and in the Vedas (as the Kalki Avtar who will come).
Being a Muslim is about having warm and congenial relationship with all peoples of the world, devoid of violence, anger, jealousy, resentment, and harm. Sometimes this aspect of peace may not be seen as a result of the many violent happenings in the world, but a book is never to be judged by its cover. And so a religion is also not to be judged by the behavior of its practitioners when they go away from the teachings of their scriptures. Islam means peace (Salm) and submission (Silm). Islam thus is the peaceful submission of man to the will of his Creator. In this sense, this is also a sacrifice of the self-will to the will of the Creator with the knowledge that the Creator did not intend any ill for any of his creation. Thus whatever condition we are subjected to experience today, it is to be taken as the best decision in that moment in time. This way, we are always in the acceptance of the will of the Creator.
Our submission is shown in two ways. One is in the constant devotion we show to our Creator in Prayer, five times a day and in the performance of the compulsory actions of Sadaqaath (charity) and Zakath (the tax) and the performance of Hajj (pilgrimage to Holy Mecca) once in one’s lifetime.
The other way is through how we show respect and give due consideration to our brothers in Islam and in humanity. The respectful behavior in all aspects of life is seen in the peerless example of character of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad. His biography (Seera) is one that must be read and understood and emulated by every Muslim. When we can hold on to the rope of Allah as is instructed in the Quran, and to the ways of The Prophet, the darkest and most turbulent sea cannot drown us.