We are currently meditating upon the value of our soul. We have so far examined how Allah (SWT) wants to buy back our soul, why the Shaitan (LA) wants to prevent this and how Allah (SWT) has created ways in which this can be prevented.
In this meditation, we will go further into this analysis and examine that which takes us closer to Allah (SWT) and that which takes us further away from our creator. By doing so, we will, in sha Allah, have a clearer understanding of our own responsibilities that we must undertake, as we strive to get closer to Allah (SWT).
Before we begin this meditation, however, let us reflect back on one of the very first questions we asked as we began our meditations. Why did the enemies of Imam Hussein (AS) kill the grandson of the Prophet (SAW), whom many of them had seen with their own eyes, in such a manner that we cannot fully comprehend?
In order to answer this question, we need to look at the personalities of those who were the enemy of Imam Hussein (AS). When we hear the narrations of Karbala, we automatically assume that these enemies were barbarians and khafirs. However, when we actually study this, we find that this is not always the case.
When we look, for example, at Ibne Muljim (LA), the enemy who martyred Amirul Mumineen (AS), we see that he was taught Quran Majid by Ali (AS) himself. When we look at Shimr (LA), we see that he fought alongside Amirul Mumineen (AS). When we look at Amar ibne Sa’ad (LA), we can learn an even greater lesson from his life.
Amar ibne Sa’ad (LA) grew up with Imam Hussein (AS) and was the son of Sa’ad, who was a companion of Rasulullah (SAW). There was once a dispute amongst some of the companions of Rasulullah (SAW) about which companion was the most virtuous. Sa’ad intervened in this dispute and said that Ali (AS) was the most virtuous and if he only had one of the excellences of Amirul Mumineen (AS), then that would be greater than anything in this world. Amar ibne Sa’ad (LA) witnessed this.
Furthermore, throughout his life, Amar ibne Sa’ad (LA) also was known for his ibadat and he was often seeing praying in the Masjid.
The question that naturally arises from this is simple. How could someone who was trying to get close to Allah (SWT) move so far away from Allah (SWT), by killing the very Imam (AS) who was given to us by Allah (SWT)?
This question was answered by Amar ibne Sa’ad (LA) himself on the Day of Ashura. One of the companions of Imam Hussein (AS) was Al-Hamdani, who knew Amar iben Sa’ad (LA) very well. Al-Hamdani asked Imam Hussein (AS) for permission to speak with Amar ibne Sa’ad (LA) and the Imam (AS) agreed.
When Al-Hamdani spoke with Amar Ibne Sa’ad (LA), he said that dogs and swine take water from this river, why are you preventing the family of Muhammad (SAW) from drinking from here? Why do you not just stop this as you know the lineage of who you are going to kill?
Amar ibne Sa’ad (LA) then said that he knew who they were and what he was doing. However, something was stopping him. He (LA) then said ‘Should I leave aside this kingdom that is promised to me or should I leave here with the sin of killing Hussein (AS)? I know that if I kill him the fire awaits me, but the kingdom of Rai (what he had been promised by Yazid (LA)) is the pleasure of my eye.’
From this, we clearly see that it is the love of this dunya and the lure of our lower desires that takes us away from Allah (SWT). This then leads us to the question of what takes us closer to Allah (SWT)?
In the Quran Majid, Allah (SWT) gives us many answers to this fundamental question. In this meditation, however, we will focus just on one of these answers.
In the 6th ayat of Surah Al-Inshiqaq, Allah (SWT) says that ‘O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with great exertion and will me it’. In this ayat, Allah (SWT) is giving us one of the purposes of our life, to work hard (whether it be as the main breadwinner, as the person who supports the breadwinner or as someone who is preparing to become the breadwinner).
When we look at the life of Rasulullah (SAW) and the Imams (AS), we see that they were always hardworking. Rasulullah (SAW) physically helped to build the masjid. Amirul Mumineen (AS) would physically harvest the crops that were used to feed the people of Kufa during Shahru Ramadan. Imam Mohammed-al-Baqir (AS) would take care of his palm trees even when the weather was so hot that everyone else would be sleeping in the shade.
Furthermore, when Rasulullah (SAW) was returning from a battle, an old man who had sincere love for Muhammad (SAW) came to embrace the Prophet (SAW). When Rasulullah (SAW) saw his hands and how they were coarse and worn, Muhammad (SAW) was told that this man had spent his life cutting rope so that he could earn a living to feed his family. Rasulullah (SAW) then kissed the hands of this man, as Muhammad (SAW) loved those who worked hard so greatly.
When we look at the Quran Majid and the examples of Rasulullah (SAW) and his Ahlul-Bayt (AS), we must start to ponder why is hard work given so much importance in Islam?
The answer is very simple, as hard work takes us away from the temptation of the dunya. Hard-work is what allows us to appreciate every blessing that Allah (SWT) has given us. Hard-work allows us to ensure that the provisions for our family is earned in a halal way. Hard-work provides us with satisfaction, which is the killer of greed.
As we look further, we see that our hard-work is of direct benefit to society. When a farmer harvests his field, it is the people who eat from that harvest that benefit. When a doctor works with a patient, it is the patientswho benefits from the healing and the family who are relieved. When a teacher teaches a student, it is the student who benefits from the knowledge.
In each of these professions, which are just a small example to illustrate this point, we see that the end benefactor is not the self, and that service is selfless. When we look at the motivations of the enemies of Karbala, we see that they were all selfish.
Unfortunately, we live in a world in which we are conditioned to believe that hard-work is not good. We are sold the idea that we should work less and enjoy life more. We work hard for the majority of the year so that we can enjoy a few weeks of holiday. We work hard for our whole life to enjoy the last few years of our life. We then wonder why our life feels empty and void of satisfaction?
It is in this very idea that we see a great conflict between the comfort and enjoyment of life and one of the true purposes of life that Allah (SWT) created us for. This is the realm of the Shaitan (LA) and he is trying to lure us towards being idle (a word that is akin to idol) and towards putting the self before Allah (SWT). The Shaitan (LA) knows that the greatest way in which we can reach the creator is by serving his creation and is always trying to take us away from that which he cannot do.
May Allah (SWT) protect us from being selfish and move us towards being selfless. May we always value our self below the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and always be of service and value to others. May we earn our rest and our relaxation as a result of our hard-work and may that rest and relaxation never become the purpose of our existence. May we meet Allah (SWT) knowing that our efforts had benefitted many and may we receive the greatest reward for these efforts from our lord. Aamin.