The Divine Gifts and Man’s Responsibility
“Therefore eat of what Allah has given you, lawful and good (things), and give thanks for Allah's favor if Him do you serve.” Qur’an 16:114
Allah the Almighty, with His mercy, love and care grants us many talents and makes us fit for them. Among all the creatures, even the close angels, no others are fit, able and ready to get these talents.
The favors Allah bestows on us throughout life, if used according to the divine instructions, will bring us to material and moral perfection and will ensure happiness in this life and in the afterlife.
The holy Qur'an draws our attention to the divine gifts and talents, which the following topics will help us explore:
1. The abundance and capacity of blessings and talents.
2. The way of getting blessings.
3. Aiming at blessings.
4. Being grateful for blessings.
5. Warnings of being ungrateful for blessings.
6. Infiniteness of blessings.
7. Those grateful for blessings.
8. Badness of wasting blessings.
9. Stinginess and not spending blessings.
10. Disappearance of blessings.
11. The completing of blessings.
12. The reward of the permissible spending of blessings.
As we explore the following twelve topics, it will be essential to pay attention to the Qur’anic verses; there we will discover high and divine concepts and topics.
1. The abundance and capacity of blessings and talents
Everything in the heavens and in the earth has been created for our sake and has been subjected to serving us: the sun, the moon, the planets and the spatial beings, whether seen or unseen. All of them have been subjected by Allah to serve us and to achieve our advantage.
Mountains, deserts, seas, woods, plants, gardens, springs, rivers, animals and all the different creatures on the earth serve us in one way or another and as sure our survival and the continuity of our activities.
The many gifts of Allah surround us like a distracted lover, or like a kind, suckling mother, in order to assure the growth and the guidance of this exalted creature and to take his high being to the sought after perfection.
The apparent and hidden blessings and talents are spread on the table of life and nature so that we can get whatever we need in life. There are no defects on this table at all. The holy Qur'an has confirmed this fact:
“Do you not see that Allah has made what is in the heavens and what is in the earth subservient to you, and made complete to you His favors outwardly and inwardly?” Qu’ran 31:20
Any kind of positive effort and work to earn a livelihood is undoubtedly a kind of worship and servitude to Allah the Almighty. In many verses of the Qur'an, Allah has ordered His slaves to enliven the earth and to find permissible livelihoods by practicing trade and every means of permissible dealing. He has ordered them toobey and worship Him, and in return, there will be rewards on the day of resurrection.
Tasks like trading, muzara’a (agricultural partnership), musharaka (participation financing), mudaraba1, industry; teaching others different crafts, such as sewing, dyeing, tanning, breeding chickens and cattle; many other activities if they are practiced according to Islamic and humane principles will be positive ways to get material blessings. If we try to get our livelihoods through these legal means, we will gain the love and contentment of Allah. However, if we get our livelihoods through illegal means, which are contrary to the Islamic principles and human values, we will be liable to the wrath of Allah.
The holy Qur'an confirms this:
“O you who believe! Do not devour your property among yourselves falsely, except that it be trading by your mutual consent.” Qur’an 4:29.
“O men! Eat the lawful and good things out of what is in the earth, and do not follow the footsteps of the Satan; surely he is your open enemy.” Qur’an 2:168
What is legal, permissible in the Islamic sharia and utilized without waste is permissible. Things like food and drink, even if they are permissible, if obtained illegally, are forbidden, too. In any case, these things must be given back to their real owners.
Making use of the divine talents and blessings such as food, drink and clothes without paying attention to the Giver, how these blessings have appeared or were created, what factors are behind the colors of these blessings, their tastes, and their smells, making use of these blessings without thinking of the source of this bite of bread or that piece of cloth, arable lands, flowing springs, rivers and woods, and being indifferent to the millions of factors that are involved in preparing these blessings for the sake of the continuity of life and our survival befit only animals and ignorant people.
Ulama and wise men look at all the blessings before their hands with the eye of sight and reason to see the Giver of these blessings; therefore, they get the moral advantage of these blessings and make use of them in the way that the Giver of these blessings has intended.
The holy Qur'an is a Book of guidance. It draws people’s attentions to these gifts and blessings in this way by saying:
“O men! call to mind the favor of Allah on you; is there any creator besides Allah who gives you sustenance from the heaven and the earth? There is no god but He; whence are you then turned away.” Qur’an 35:3
Yes! All the divine blessings and their benefits lead to the oneness of the Truth, which is the true evidence that leads to the oneness of the Sacred Being and to the easy way to know the Almighty Creator.
Some people think that being grateful for blessings is achieved by saying, after making use of these divine blessings, “Thanks be to Allah,” or “Praise be to Allah,” or “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” It is not reasonable that a word or two we utter with our tongues can achieve real gratefulness for all these material and moral blessings.
Gratefulness should be suitable to the Giver and harmonious with the blessing. This cannot be achieved except by a series of sayings, doings and feelings.
Would we be grateful for all these divine mercies and blessings just by saying, “praise be to Allah” or “thanks be to Allah?”
Can gratefulness be realized just by saying, “praise be to Allah” before all these material blessings? Think of our organs: the eyes, the ears, the tongue, the hands, the legs, the heart, veins, nerves and bones. Consider other material blessings like food, drink, fragrances; beautiful scenes of nature, like mountains, plains, woods, rivers, springs, seas; the different fruits, grains, vegetables and millions of other blessings that are considered as tools and means that keep the life and the survival of man.
Can man offer the real gratefulness to Allah just by saying “thanks be to Allah” in return for the blessings of Islam, faith, guidance, guardianship, knowledge, wisdom, health, safety, purification, satisfaction, obedience, love, worship and the likes?
Ar-Raghib al-Isfahani says in his book al-Mufradat, p.265, “The origin of thanking is from ein shukra.2” It means from an eye full of tears or a spring full of pure water. Therefore, the meaning of gratefulness is that the inners of man become full of the mention of Allah and that he pays full attention to the blessings of Allah: how he gets them and how he uses them.
Khawaja Naseeruddeen at-Toossi, known as the teacher of the human beings and the eleventh mind, says about the fact of gratefulness as mentioned by Allama al-M ajlisi: “Gratefulness is the best and most exalted of deeds.”
You should know that gratefulness is meeting blessings with saying, doing and intention. Gratefulness depends on three bases:
The first: knowing the Benefactor and His suitable aspects, and appreciating blessings and acknowledging that all the blessings whether apparent or hidden are from Allah the Almighty. The real benefactor is no one save Allah the Exalted and all the means between man and these blessings and talents are determined by the will of Allah.
The second base is the coming true of “The State.” The State here means being submissive and humble before the Benefactor and being happy and delighted with blessings. We should know that all the blessings are divine gifts from Allah the Almighty to His slaves and as evidence of the care of Allah towards His slaves. The sign of the coming true of the State is that we should not be delighted with material blessings except in a way that bring us nearer to Allah.
The third base of gratefulness is doing. Doing should appear in three stages: the heart, the tongue and the organs.
The doing of the Heart is glorifying Allah, praising Him, pondering on His creatures, doings, and mercy and having determination to give goodness to all of the creatures.
As for the doing of the Tongue, it is accomplished by showing words of thankfulness, praise, glorifying Allah, enjoining people to do good and forbidding them from doing bad.
The doing of the Organs is using them to worship Allah and obey Him and keeping them away from disobeying Him.
Hence, the real meaning of gratefulness shows that gratefulness is one of the aspects of perfection. It is so little that gratefulness appears in a full way by the people who have enjoyed the blessings as the holy Qur’an says:
“….and very few of My servants are grateful.” 34:13
Gratefulness for the divine blessings, according to the previous meaning, is areasonable and legal obligation. Gratefulness for blessings becomes real by using these blessings in the ways Allah has determined. In fact, worship and complete servitude to Allah is achieved by real gratefulness for the blessings.
“Therefore eat of what Allah has given you, lawful and good (things), and give thanks for Allah's favor if Him do you serve” Qur’an 16:114
“therefore seek the sustenance from Allah, and serve Him and be grateful to Him; to Him you shall be brought back.” Qur’an 29:17
Being grateful for blessings is achieved by refraining from sins. Full gratefulness is to say, “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.3”
Being grateful for blessings is by using them in worshipping, being obedient, helping people, doing good to them and by refraining from all sins and bad doings.
Some people think that the divine talents and blessings in their hands are their own, and they do not think of the real Benefactor or ponder the source of these talents and blessings. They think that they are the actual owners; therefore, they behave with these blessings as they like and as their tendencies, lusts, and wishes lead them.
These people in adversity and ignorance when they use these divine blessings in the satanic way, and in the way of impermissible lusts. Worse yet, they use these blessings to mislead their families, children, relatives, and other people.
They use the blessing of their organs to support others in committing sins. They spend the blessing of money and wealth on bad friends and assist them to commit disobedience and sins. They use the blessing of science and knowledge to serve tyrants and their followers. They use the blessing of eloquence to mislead people.
These people change the fine divine blessings into ugly, satanic deeds. Doing this, they advance step after step towards the eternal torment and the divine wrath, which waits for them and their followers.
“Have you not seen those who have changed Allah's favor for ungratefulness and made their people to alight into the abode of perdition (into hell)? They shall enter into it and an evil place it is to settle in.” Qur’an 14:28-29
When we notice one of the many Qur’anic verses, we realize this meaning clearly. Allah has granted us blessings that cannot be counted; however people try to number them. Allah says:
“And if all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea, with seven more seas to help it, (were ink), the words of Allah could not be exhausted. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.” Qur’an 31:27
O man, you should think of the creation of your inners and organs with reason in order to find out this truth; the divine blessings cannot be counted and numbered.
The holy Qur'an says concerning the creation of man:
“And certainly We created man of an extract of clay. Then We made him a small seed in a firm resting-place. Then We made the seed a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made (in) the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation, so blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.” (23:12-14)
Thus, the sperm changes, through many stages, into a complete human being with perfect aspects. So we should think of the secrets of our bodies and organs: the cells the body has, the digestive system, the veins, the blood, the respiratory system, the brain, the nerves, the eyes, the ears, the nose, and all the other organs and parts. Then we might know well that the blessings of Allah, even in this limited material body, cannot be counted or numbered.
The biologists and physiologists say that if you try to count the cells of your body day and night continuously and every second you count one thousand cells, you will take three hundred thousand years to count all the cells of your body.
Scientist and experts tell us that when food digests inside the wonderfullaboratory, the stomach, there are chemicals at work more numerous than all the substances that are prepared in all the scientific laboratories. The chemical compounds found in this wonderfullaboratory contain more than one million different atoms, and most of these compounds are poisonous and deadly4.
Scientists say that the heart is the size of a fist, but it has such great power that it contracts and expands seventy times every minute. In thirty years, it repeats this operation more than one million times. Every minute it pumps blood to all parts of the body via capillaries and veins, and, thus, it washes more than ten million cells!5
Add to that the atoms of oxygen, hydrogen, azoth, soil, the roots and trunks of the trees, flowers and fruits, and all things in the heavens and the earth which have been created to serve man, and then see if the blessings of Allah can be counted, or not!
If you can look at a handful of earth, you will see that it is not pure, but it is a mixture of many mineralsof minute atoms and these minute mineral atoms have become big rocks because of different natural influences. Soil contains many live creatures; a handful of soil may have millions of microscopic creatures called bacteria. Besides the bacteria, there are different kinds of plants and insects in soil. Many of these live creatures penetrate into soil and open pores to let air reach the roots of the plants and trees, which help them grow6.
The ability of man to consume food and drink via the mouth, the teeth, the tongue, the glands, the throat, the esophagus, the stomach, the duodenum, the intestines--all the activities of the digestive system is another story about the blessings that Allah has given to man.
Another very important system is the filtering and circulation of blood through the veins and arteries spread all over the body of man. So is the structure of the heart--the auricles, the ventricles--the content of the blood the red cells and white cells the color and liquidity of blood, the temperature of the body, the skin, the ear and its structures, the eye and its parts, and many other things which are wonderful stories and astonishing secrets of the divine blessings.
In addition, if we look at the upper world, light, wind, the ebb of tides, the stars and the planets, we find many many marvelous facts. If we can count every minute three hundred planets and stars in the sky that we can see, it will take us three hundred and sixty years to count them all because man, until now, has discovered, using the greatest telescopes, more than one hundred thousand million stars. The earth is as a small grain in comparison with these stars. It is better to say that counting the stars is impossible for man. The expanse of space, which includes all these stars and planets, is so great and large that moving from one side of it to the other takes about five hundred thousand light-years.
The sun and its solar stem are but asmall atom hanging in the great sky. It moves four hundred kilometers a second. Turning around its axis takes nearly two hundred million years.
The system of the sky, the upper world, their influences on the surface and the center of the earth and their influences on the lives of the earthy creatures, especially man, cannot be perceived easily. Each drop of water that we drink contains thousands of useful creatures. In every cubic millimeter of blood, there are seven thousand and five hundred white cells and five million red cells7. Here we understand the greatness of the holy Qur'an, the book revealed many centuries ago to the luminous heart of Prophet Muhammad (S), which reveals facts as they are. Among these facts is that the blessings of Allah can never be counted.
“And if you would count Allah's favors, you will not be able to number them; most surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” Qur’an 16:18
The people, who know Allah, the world, man and the day of resurrection after pondering on the creation and by seeing the facts in the world of reality, hearing the truth from the tongues of creatures and existing things, trying to purify the inner self and the soul, acquiring divine morals, following the way of worship and servitude (to Allah), doing good and being kind to people, are really grateful for the blessings and gifts of Allah. Yes! these people exploit all the apparent and hidden blessings in the right way and gain the happiness of this life and the afterlife. So do all those who follow their way. The leaders of the Caravan of the Human Beings in this divine Way are the Prophets (as) and the Infallible Imams (as). Therefore, we find the believers, every day after offering the daily prayers, asking Allah to keep them on the right path in which those great people have walked.
“Keep us on the right path; the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors, not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.” Qur’an 1:6-7
The Prophets (ss) and the Infallible Imams (as) have used all the moral and material blessings in the right way, and, hence, they become so close to Allah and have positions in the afterlife higher than the minds of human beings can perceive.
Allah talks in the holy Qur'an about the reward of those who obey Allah and His Messenger (S) in all the affairs of this life, and that they will be standing in the afterlife beside those whom Allah has bestowed favors on.
“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company are they!” Qur’an 4:69
A waster, according to the holy Qur’an, is anyone whouses his wealth, position, lusts, wishes and the rest of the blessings Allah has given to him in the satanic way and in the deviant path, which is neither reasonable nor permissible.
When talking about the work and the fruits of so wing and how to spend wealth, Allah says:
“And pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and waste not by excess: for Allah loves not the wasters.” Qur’an 6:141
This means giving from agricultural production what Allah has determined is due to the poor; giving to the needy, the officials appointed over the zakat, and those whose hearts are made to incline (to Islam); buying slaves and setting them free; paying the debts of needy debtors and giving to the wayfarers what is to be spent in the way of Allah. We should not be stingy with these monies nor should we waste them.
The holy Qur’an talks about those whouse their wealth, positions and powers in the way of injustice, oppression and aggression to frighten and threaten people and to achieve their low aims. Allah says:
“and most surely Firon (the Pharaoh) was lofty in the land; and most surely he was of the extravagant.” Qur’an 10:83
The holy Qur’an also talks about the people who are not chaste, who do not refrain from prohibited lusts, who do not know save material and bodily pleasures and who do not refrain from any aggression and vice to satisfy their sexual lusts. The holy Qur’an says:
“Most surely you come to males in lust instead of females; nay you are extravagant people.” Qur’an 7:81
The holy Qur’an shows the humility and good end of the believers who submit to the Prophets (as) and their miracles, and, on the other hand, it shows the state of people who become haughty, proud and resist ant before the clear proofs and true evidences and who prevent people from the Straight Path of Allah. Allah says:
“Then we fulfilled the promise unto them. So we delivered them and whom We would, and We destroyed the prodigals.” Qur’an 21:9
Through a saying of a simple and illiterate farmer, I can perceive the badness of stinginess, keeping the greater amount of blessings for oneself and not giving it to those who deserve it.
Once I went to a village to preach. After the lecture an old man, on his mien the signs of heavy work and exhausting toil, appeared. He said to me:
Let us suppose that a generous man has given someone a piece of arable land and some seeds to so w. When the season of harvest comes, that generous man comes to the farmer, whom he has given a piece of land, seeds to so w and a source of water. He says to him, “All that you get from these plants is for you. I do not want anything from you save a small portion to be given as a gift to some people whom I shall name.” If that farmer refuses to pay that little portion from the yield which he gets by the favor of that generous man, then it will be the utmost impudence and lowness. That generous man has the right to turn away from that farmer and to be angry with him and his bad behavior and he has the right to punish him.
Then he added, I mean by the “generous one,” Allah the Almighty, Who has given us arable earth, flowing rivers, abundant rains, sunlight, the moon, winds and other means by which we can sow whatever we like. In fact, Allah has given us these plants and fruits freely and asked us for zakat,
khums8 and charity to be given to the poor and the needy. If we do not pay these dues and we become stingy with them, this Generous One has the right to be angry with us and to punish us for our crime and impudence.
The holy Qur'an says about this matter:
“And let not those deem, who are niggardly in giving away that which Allah has granted them out of His grace, that it is good for them; nay, it is worse for them; they shall have that whereof they were niggardly made to cleave to their necks on the resurrection day; and Allah's is the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is aware of what you do.” (3:180)
It is understood from the clear Qur’anic verses 1 7:83, 28:76-79, 89:17-20 and 92: 8-10, that the reasons behind the disappearance of blessings, loss of wealth, miserable life, poverty and meanness are: Being ungrateful for blessings, being too inadvertent (with Allah) and forgetting the Giver, being proud before the divine orders and resisting the divine will, the sharia, prophethood and Imamate. These concepts are understood from the following verse:
“And when We bestow favor on man, he turns aside and behaves proudly, and when evil afflicts him, he is despairing.” Qur’an 17:83
It is understood from the Sura 28:7 6-83, that the reasons leading to the disappearance of blessings are: conceitedness with blessings, being too delighted with money and wealth, being indifferent to the means of the afterlife, not spending money on the deserving ones, being stingy, not paying charities, using blessings to work corruption and to lead people towards corruption, being proud and haughty before people and other bad behavior and dis gusting cond uct. Blessings also disappear when one thinks that he has received blessings because of his cleverness and skill.
It is und erstood from the verses of the sura of al-Fajr (89) that the reasons behind the disappearance of blessings are not being kind to the orphans, not intending to help the poor and needy, extorting the inheritance of the weak and being greedy for money and wealth. Allah says:
“Nay! But you do not honor the orphan, nor do you urge one another to feed the poor and you eat away the heritage, devouring (everything) indiscriminately and you love wealth with exceeding love”. Qur’an 89:17-20
Other reasons for the disappearance of blessings are not paying zakat and charity, not spending monies for the sake of Allah and thinking we can deal with money and wealth without being in need of Allah and, consequently, not believing in the day of judgment. Allah says:
“And as for him who is niggardly and considers himself free from need (of Allah) and rejects the best, We will facilitate for him the difficultend.” Qur’an 92:8-10
When we are immersed in blessings, we care for the weak and the needy, are kind to them and help them in order to be grateful for the blessings of Allah. We have to worship Allah more and help people so that the blessings will not disappear from our lives and so that the mercy of Allah will continue.
In a tradition mentioned by at-Tabari, ath-Tha’labi, al-Wahidi, al-Qurtubi Abu as-Sa’ood, al-Fakhrar-Razi, ibn Katheer ash-Shami, an-Nayshaboori, as-Sayooti and al-Aaloosi in their tafsirs; and in the books of al-Balathari, ibn Qutayba, ibn Zoulaq, ibn Asakir, ibnul Atheer, ibn Abul Hadeed, ibn Khillikan, ibn Hajar and ibn as-Sabbagh; in the books of Hadith by ash-Shafi’iy, Ahmad bin Hanbal, ibn Maja, at-Tarmithi, an-Nassa’iy, ad-Doulabi, Muhibuddeen at-Tabari, ath-Thahabi, al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, ibn Hamza ad-Damashqi, and Tajuddeen al-Mannawi, and books of theology9 1 by Judge Abu Bakr al-Baqillani, Judge Abdurra hman al-Ayji, Sayyid Shareef al-Jurjani, al-Baydhawi, Shamsuddeen al-Isfahani, at-Taftazani and al-Qoushaji that the Prophet (S), in order to guide people, to keep the Religion and follow the Qur'an and to lead people to happiness in this life and the afterlife, appointed, in the Valley of Ghadeer Khum on the 18th of Thul Hijja10, an Imam (as) over the Muslims. He would be an Infallible Leader who was free from defects in thinking, belief, morals and deeds. He wasameerul Mo'mineen11 Ali bin Abu Talib (as). The Prophet (S) had made him the Caliph, the Wali and the leader over the Umma after him. For that, Allah announced the perfection of the Religion, completing the favor, and choosing Islam as the religion and law for people until the day of resurrection.
“This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as areligion.” Qur’an 5:3
Accepting the guardianship and the rule of Imam Ali (as) and obeying him in the affairs of religion, life and the afterlife is perfection of the Religion and completion of the favor of Allah.
Concerning cleanliness, purity and the luminous state coming out of wudu12, it was narrated from Imam ar-Ridha’ (as):
“Wudu has been ordered to be as prerequisite so that man should be pure when standing before Allah the Almighty supplicating Him and following His orders. He should be pure of every impurity; besides that, wudu gets laziness and drowsiness away and it purifies the heart to be ready before the Almighty13.”
These are the moral effects of ghusl14 and tayammum15 where all of them come under the title of “Purity.” It is the purity that belongs to the circle of the divine Orders. This state occurs for whomever performs wudu’, ghusl or tayammum and then offers prayer and worship. The holy Qur’an says that the favor (blessing) of Allah has been perfected and completed on that one.
At the end, the verse of purity and prayer reads:
“Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but he wishes to purify you and that he may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful.” Qur’an 5:6
It is understood from this verse that completing the favor on man is realized by being interested in moral matters, following the divine orders and being endowed with true beliefs and good manners.
The holy Qur’an stresses the reward of paradise andeternal happiness for the men and women who have Hearts full of faith, souls pure of vices, bodies busy with good deeds, tongues announcing the Truth, wealth moving in the circle of generosity and liberality and feet walking to serve people.
The Qur’an confirms that the reward of these believers who do good will never be in vain.
The Qur'an clearly declares that the promise of Allah is true, and Allah never reneges on His promise.
The holy Qur’an shows the kinds of rewards for believers who do good works by saying: great reward, honorable reward, reward that will never fail, and good reward. Allah has said,
“Allah has promised to those who believe and do good deeds (that) they shall have forgiveness and an excellent reward.” Qur’an, 5:9
“Except those who are patient and do good, they shall have forgiveness and a great reward.” Qur’an, 11:11
“Who is there that will offer to Allah a good gift so He will double it for him, and he shall have an honorable reward.” Qur’an, 57:11
“For those who believe and work deeds of righteousness is areward that will never fail.” Qur’an,
“Then if you obey, Allah will grant you a good reward.” Qur’an, 48:16
If the blessing of the heart is used in the circle of faith and belief; the blessing of the mind is used in the way of thinking to discover the facts; the blessing of the organs is used in the way of good deeds; the blessings of position and wealth are used to solve the problems of people: if man uses all these blessings in the way of obedience, in worship, in serving people and in doing good, and in the way of confirming piety and chasteness, then he, besides getting happiness in this life, will gain five kinds of reward in the afterlife. Using the divine blessings and gifts in the right way is not difficult or arduous. In fact, every man and woman can follow this way so that no curtain or obstacle remains between them and the Creator and they can get the pleasure of nearness and meeting with Allah
The Prophet (S) and the Infallible Imams (as), by being grateful for the divine blessings and by using these blessings in their correct way, have passed through all the dark and luminous screens until nothing remains between them and their Exalted Lord save that they are creatures and slaves to Allah the Almighty.
Sheikh Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Othman bin Sa’eed narrated that one of the Infallible Imams (as) had said, “Your signs and positions, which cannot be annulled at any time or in any place, are how you are recognized by those who can see. There is no difference between you and them except that they are your slaves and creatures16”.
It must be noticed that the divine blessings do not form a screen or an obstacle between man and his Creator, but deviant behavior and the satanic methods of man in using these blessings and talents do form such a screen. If we use the blessings correctly, as Allah has intended for us, these blessings will bring us close to Allah.
The Prophets (as) and the Infallible Imams (as) made use of the different material and moral blessings. They had wives and children. They had houses to live in. They made their livelihood by grazing cattle, farming, trading and other dealings. At the same time, there was no screen between them and Allah.
If the spirit of obedience and worship is found inside man, the state of submission and servitude is fixed in him, his Heart is filled with the light of knowledge, and his soul is filled with the light of good deeds, then surely man will make use of all the material tools and means in his worldly life to take him to the moral position; however, if one looses the spirit of obedience and worship, he will not know how to use the divine blessings in the right way, and whatever blessings increase for him he will become prouder, haughtier and more aggressive.
According to the saying of Imam Ali (as) in Du’a of Kumayl, it is reasonable that the heart becomes a center of monotheism and a house of knowledge, the tongue is uttering with the mention of Allah, the inner being is full of love, the intention is sincere and truthful, the conscience is submissive to the Lord of the lords. Then could one be among the people of hell on the day of resurrection? Imam Ali (as) says,
“Would that I know, O my Lord, my Master, and my God: Do You let the fire prevail over faces falling down prostrating before Your greatness, hearts acknowledging Your divinity sincerely, consciences containing knowledge about You until they have become submissive, and organs hastening to worship You obediently and asking You for forgiveness subserviently? This is not the idea about You nor have we been told of Your favors by You, O Generous17”.
The blessings that are used in obeying Allah and serving and doing good to His people will make a sun of the contentment of Allah rise on the day of resurrection and will take the good-doer to paradise and to the everlasting bliss.
We end this part by drawing attention to two facts:
1. It is understood from the above verses that worship; obedience and serving people refer to acknowledging the Giver and His blessings and using the blessings as Allah has ordered and for the sake of His pleasure.
2. Sin, disobedience, polytheism, disbelief, aggression, debauchery and adultery refer to being inadvertent to the Giver, being conceited with blessings, turning away from Allah and using the blessings in the way of prohibited and impermissible tendencies and lusts.
- 1. A commercial association whereby an investor entrusts capital to an agent who trades with it and shares with the investor a pre-determined proportion of the profits.
- 2. Ein in Arabic means “eye” or “spring.” Shukr means “ thanking.”
- 3. Al-Kafi, vol.2 p.78.
- 4. The Secret of Creating Man (Raz Aafareenesh Insan) p.145.
- 5. The Ways of Knowing Allah (Rah Khudashinasi) p.318.
- 6. Science and Life (Il m wa Zin diggi) p.134-135.
- 7. Treasures of Science (Ganjeenahay Danish) p.927.
- 8. Khums is one fifth of war booty or one’s (yearly) income reserved to the Prophet (S) and his progeny.
- 9. Refer to al-Ghadeer by Allama al-Ameeni, vol.1 p.6-8.
- 10. Thul-Hijja is the twelfth month in the Islamic calendar
- 11. Ameerul Mo'mineen means the commander of the believers.
- 12. Wudu is ritual ablution that is required before offering certain rites.
- 13. Wassa’il ash-Shia, vol.1 p.257.
- 14. Ghusl is obligatory bathing that is required after certain acts or occurrences.
- 15. Tayammum is ritual purification with sand, soil, or dust, allowed when water is unavailable.
- 16. Mafateeh al-Jinan by Sheikh Abbas al-Qummi, Du’a (invocation) of every day of the month of Rajab.
- 17. Mafateeh al-Jinan by Sheikh Abbas al-Qummi, Du’a Kumayl.