God has appointed certain men to preach to and guide mankind on the path of paradise. They are the prophets. The path to hell also has those who lure men to it. They are God’s adversaries. The Ulema (scholars and religious leaders) follow in the prophets’ footsteps. Fatima, daughter of our Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), did not inherit property or wealth from him. The ulema inherited the da’wah (the task of spreading the message of his religion) from him. Whoever fulfills this task with absolute sincerity and to the best of his ability deserves the honour of this inheritance. Da’wah is difficult, given man’s strong desire for freedom, which religion wants to restrain. Religion endeavours to curb human nature when it gets out of control and indulges in every pleasure. Religion readily responds to any temptation to commit sins or behave immorally. Human nature is rather like a reservoir full of water, situated on top of a high hill. It’s easy to destroy the reservoir: you merely pierce it with something sharp and the water will overflow in no time, flooding the valley below. But if you want to refill the reservoir, it’s a different matter. You’ll need to go to a great deal of trouble, install a pump and spend a vast amount of money. Here’s another example to illustrate human weakness. If you want to bring a heavy boulder to the foot of a mountain, all you need do is to push it slightly and it will roll down, – but getting it back to the top is a tremendous task! And that is the way of human nature.

A friend who is not adhering to a religious path might tell you about a beautiful woman who performs dancing shows in the nude, and you might be tempted to go along and see her. If a religious person were to come along at this point to advise you against seeing the woman, you might find it difficult to resist temptation and listen to his advice. Those who spread evil hardly have to exert themselves at all in order to spread their mischief, whereas those who uphold moral values and noble actions have to make a tremendous effort. The ‘evil monger’ has all the factors which play upon human weakness at his fingertips: feminine charms unashamedly exposed sexual arousal and easy access to whatever appeals to the senses. How can the preachers of Islam compete with all these attractions? What do they have to offer in their place? Simply restraint and moderation. You may find yourself looking at a girl who is not wearing the veil which Muslim women are required to wear, and you might fantasize about the shape of her body. At that point a preacher would ask you to lower your gawk and not to look at her. Another example is of a businessman who finds the practice of lending money at a high rate of interest the best and quickest way of making money. But the preacher would advise him not to make money in this way. An employee might notice a colleague accepting a bribe equivalent to six months’ salary and imagine how much he and his family would benefit if he did likewise. The preacher, however, would intervene at this point advising him to restrain himself from carrying out such an action. Spiritual teachers advise all such people, warning them to keep away from temporary pleasures that cross their path, – to give up temptations in the physical world for the sake of the unseen: that which they cannot perceive at that moment. They encourage them to control their weak wills and the desires of their hearts, even though this is a tremendous task and a heavy burden. It should not be a wonder that we describe religion as a heavy burden. Indeed, Allah the Almighty has described it like this in the Holy Qur’an: “Behold, we shall bestow upon thee a weighty message” (Qur’an;73:5). Every noble act weighs down the human soul.

In the example we looked at, of the student leaving his family watching television in order to revise for his exams, he was no doubt fed up! It is also hard for someone who is a student of knowledge to detach himself from a social gathering when he is enjoying himself, for the sake of reading and teaching. The same goes for a person who is awakened at dawn to perform fajr (dawn prayer). Likewise, a man who sets out on the path of jihad (endeavour hard for the cause of God) also takes a great burden upon himself, when he says goodbye to his wife and family. We therefore find there are far more unrighteous and unworthy people around than the other way round. Those who remember God and let Him guide them are far fewer than those who opt for the ‘easy path’. And this is why it is harmful for us to fall blindly in line with the majority: Now if thou pay heed to the majority of those (who live) on earth, they will but lead thee astray from the path of God (Qur’an;6:116). However, if scarcity and rarity were not qualities of eminence and superiority, diamonds would not be hard to find and coal would not be in such abundance. Nor would great men of genius, brave heroes and men of distinction be so few and far between. For many generations, prophets and men of true knowledge have urged us to follow the right path, while the corrupt and virtue-less have tried to mislead us. And in fact, we have the faculty within us to go either way. There is a part of our inner selves that accepts the teachings of the prophets, and another part that is influenced by those who have been misled. The human intellect is the side that understands truth and the way of the prophets; and there is another side that provokes us into wrong doing. “What’s the difference between the mind and the soul?” you may ask. I do not claim to provide here a clear definition to clarify and distinguish one from the other – and even science has failed to throw a light on them’ However, I shall try to explain.

The Real Islam

Next ……Body, Soul, Mind

Islam-A General Introduction: “Ta’rif-e-Aam bi-Din il-Islam” By: Shaikh Ali Al-Tantawi تعریف عام بدین الاسلام