The Insider (2): “On First Philosophy Of Islam”

The Friday Sermon (1)
Salim I. Hassan
July, 2016
In the name of Allah the Merciful, The Compassionate: Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Noble Messenger (Muhammad S.A.W):

May Allah’s mercy surrounds you; may His power protects you oh Son of Adam, for now and forever. We should know that the best human art which is highest in degree and noblest in rank is the art of philosophy which according to Al-Kindi, is the knowledge of the true nature of things, in so far as is possible for man. The aim of the philosopher is, as regards his knowledge is to attain the truth, and as regards his action is to act truthfully.

Based on the above, a believer has to attain the truth in whatever he is doing. Towards that end, Islam is built upon certain pillars which if properly followed and observed, a believer can attain the truth he is seeking. Allah, the Most High, is our final truth and we are all working towards achieving His absolute pleasure. In the course of our actions, we are observing and protecting our pillars of Islam without necessarily absorbing or inculcating (in us) the absolute aim attached to them. And I feel it necessary to explore this point for further clarification.

Know Your Self As Muslim
The foremost important of Muslim identity is his faith. And this faith implies one’s belief in Allah without associating anything else being unto him, the general concept we know as ‘TAUHEED.’  (Ikhlas Q112, v1-4), (Isra’I Q17, v111).

Tauheed is the faith in oneness of Allah, to which Kalimat AS-shahada affirms and testifies. In this meaning, Shahada is the purest expression of the essentiality of of Muslim identity. And this expression is naturally there in Islamic rituals such as prayer, zakat, Fasting e.t.c.

Adjacent to faith and tauheed is Spirituality, the noblest position in belief and yet the most difficult to attain by individuals. In fact, spirituality is the immediate consequence of Faith and Tauheed. Spirituality is to keep your faith alive at all the time by remembering Allah in your words, actions, habits, appearance and in all kind of mu’amalat. Sprituality is the position that all the true believers must aspire to attain. Therefore, one’s Islam starts with level one which is ‘Shahadah, and the nobles and the highest level you should aspire to attain is the level of Spirituality. It is position that Prophet (S.A.W) termed as ‘Ihsan’ and described as “To  worship God as if you could see Him, for even if you cannot see Him, He sees you,”  (as known from Hadith no2 of Annawawi’s Arba’un). Spirituality can be best explained below:
Excellence, defined as the ideal behavior of the Muslim, would be to attain a state where there was no forgetfulness. Excellence (al-ihsan), the Prophet said, is “to worship God as if you could see Him, for even if you cannot see Him, He sees you,” that is, to try to be with God in every situation.In the many debates involving sociologists and political scientists, this dimension is often forgotten, as if faith and spirituality cannot be considered as scientific data with an objective “identity.” But the word islam itself means “submission” to God, expressing, strictly speaking, an act of worship, with its spiritual horizon. Consequently, recognition of the Muslim identity entails recognition of this first and fundamental dimension of faith, and, by extension, allowing Muslims to carry out all the religious practices that give shape to their spiritual life. Faith and spirituality underpin these practices, which express the presence of an essential conviction that gives meaning to life: to cut Muslims off from them is to cut them off from their very being. Muslim identity, at its central pivot, is therefore a faith, a practice, and a spirituality. It is essentially the dimension of intimacy and the heart”.

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