By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

 

 

Muraqabat Allah – Observing Allah

 

وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِن قُرْآنٍ وَلاَ تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلاَّ كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَن رَّبِّكَ مِن مِّثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاء وَلاَ أَصْغَرَ مِن ذَلِكَ وَلا أَكْبَرَ إِلاَّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ {يونس 61}

In whatever situation you may be and whatever part of the Qur’an you are reciting, whatever work you are doing, We witness you when you are engaged in it. Not even the weight of a speck of dust in the earth or sky escapes your Lord, nor anything lesser or greater: it is all written in a clear record. (Yunus 10:61)

 

يَا بُنَيَّ إِنَّهَا إِن تَكُ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ فَتَكُن فِي صَخْرَةٍ أَوْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ أَوْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَأْتِ بِهَا اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَطِيفٌ خَبِيرٌ {لقمان 16}

Luqman said, “My son, if even something of the weight of a mustard seed were hidden in a rock or anywhere in the heavens or earth, Allah will bring it (to light), for He is all subtle and all aware. (Luqman 31:16)

 

Abdullah ibn Dinar said that he went for a journey to Makkah with ‘Umar –may Allah be pleased with both of them. They stopped at some place. They saw a young shepherd with a flock of sheep. He came down from a hill. ‘Umar wanted to test the honesty of this shepherd. He said to him, “Sell me one of your sheep.” The shepherd said, “I am a slave working for someone. These sheep are not mine they belong to my master.” ‘Umar said, “Tell your master that a wolf attacked and ate one of the sheep.” The shepherd replied, “Fa’ayn Allah? So where is Allah or what about Allah?” ‘Umar could not hold his tears when he heard this answer from the shepherd. He kept repeating “Fa’ayn Allah?” When he came back to Madinah, he sent someone to find out who was the master of this shepherd. He purchased the shepherd and freed him. He said to him, “This word freed you in this life and I hope it will free you in the Hereafter.” (Al-Ghazali, Ihya’ vol. 4, p. 396)

 

A believer must always keep in mind this question, ‘Where is Allah?” Allah is not far away; Allah is not at a distance. Allah is not unaware of what we do. Allah knows everything and He sees everything. The more we have this faith in our hearts and minds, the more we shall do the right things and the more we shall be at peace with us and with others.

 

The ‘Ulama’ call this “muraqabatullah.” This means keeping Allah always in mind, actually it means ‘observing Allah.’ To observe Allah does not mean that you see Him physically or Allah appears to you in person. Our belief is that Allah is Infinite, Transcendent. Our eyes cannot catch Him, but He catches the eyes. (Al-An’am 6:103). Muraqabtullah is basically the same as ‘Ihsan.’ It is the excellence of faith. In a long Hadith known as Hadith Jibril, the Prophet explained about Ihsan:

… قَالَ مَا الْإِحْسَانُ قَالَ أَنْ تَعْبُدَ اللَّهَ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ تَرَاهُ فَإِنَّهُ يَرَاك … (البخاري 48)

He was askedWhat is Ihsan? He said, ‘That you worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, though you see Him not yet He sees you.” (al-Bukhari, Hadith no. 48)

 

Muraqabatullah or keeping Allah always in mind saves us from lies, hypocrisy and sins. It keeps us aware that whatever we do, whether in public or private, is known to Allah and Allah sees it. When people lose this consciousness then they do not care about what they say and what they do and this leads them to corruption. On the Day of Judgment Allah will say,

 

.... وَلَكِنْ ظَنَنْتُمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَعْلَمُ كَثِيراً مِمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ وذالكم ظنكم الذي ظننتم بربكم أرداكم فأصبحتم من الخاسرين

(فصلت 22-23)

….You thought that Allah did not know about much of what you were doing, so it was your thought that you held about your Lord that led to your ruin and you became the losers .

(Fussilat 41:22-23)

 

Muraqabatullah is a beautiful experience. It fills a person with peace and tranquility; it gives comfort at the time pain and difficulties. It gives strength and assurance and it makes life beautiful. It keeps on the right path and saves from a lot of troubles.

 

عن ابنِ عَبَّاسٍ ، قال: «كُنْتُ خَلْفَ النبيِّ يَوْماً، فَقَالَ: يَا غُلاَمُ، إِنِّي أُعَلِّمُكَ كِلمَاتٍ: إِحْفَظِ الله يَحْفَظْكَ، إِحْفَظِ الله تجِدْهُ تجَاهَكَ، إِذَا سَأَلْتَ فَاسْأَلِ الله، وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْتَ فَاسْتَعِنْ بالله، وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الأُمَّةَ لَوِ اجْتَمَعَتْ عَلَى أَنْ يَنْفَعُوكَ بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَنْفَعُوكَ إِلاَّ بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ الله لَكَ، وَإنِ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَضُرُّوكَ إِلاَّ بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ الله عَلَيْكَ، رُفِعَتِ الأَفْلاَمُ وَجَفَّتِ الصُّحُف.(الترمذى)

 

Ibn ‘Abbas –may Allah be pleased with him- said that I was riding behind the Prophet –peace be upon him- one day. He said to me, “Young man, I am teaching you some important words, ‘Keep Allah in your mind, He shall protect you. Keep Allah in your mind, you will find Him in front of you. When you need something, ask Allah. When you need help, seek help from Allah. Know this that if all the people gather together to benefit you with anything they cannot do that except with what Allah has written for you; and if they gather together to harm you they cannot do that except with what Allah has written for you. The pens are lifted and books are dried.

(Al-Tirmidhi)

(Khutbah at ISOC – Jumada al-Ukhra 5, 1430/ May 29, 2009)

 

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