Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|An important factor of restraint|
|09/28/01 at 00:41:15|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
[center]An important factor of restraint
By Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef[/center]
Prayer, reciting the Qur'an and the remembrance of God in general fulfill their task of restraining evil and indecency, through the state of serenity they help a believer to enjoy.
Anxiety, particularly the fear of poverty and deprivation, may give rise to a state of anger and frustration which needs some sort of release. No person who believes in God will direct such anger and frustration toward God to whom he prays for sustenance. Hence, he may direct his frustration and its associated feelings of anger and hostility toward other people. Such feelings may lead to gross indecency in the form of illegitimate sex, in either its straight form between man and woman, or its perverted forms between partners of the same sex.
The fact that sexual acts may be motivated by hostile feelings so as to make illegitimate sex, whether straight or perverted, a hostile act has been only recently recognized by modern psychology. However, the Qur'an describes it as such more than once.
God describes the true believers as those "who are mindful of their chastity, (giving way to their desires) only with their spouses, or those whom their right hands possess; for then they are free of all blame; whereas those who go beyond that limit are truly transgressors." (23: 5-7 & 70: 29-3 1) In denouncing the practices of Lot's people the Qur'an quotes the Prophet Lot as saying to them: "And you abandon your lawful spouses whom your Lord has created for you! Nay, but you are people who transgress all bounds of what is right." (26: 166) We note that in both cases the word used in the Qur'an to denote transgression is loaded with connotations of hostility.
Perhaps this explains the Qur'anic description of Satan's work as he tries to lead us away from the right path. Satan is described as scaring us with poverty before he tempts us with indecency.
By contrast, God's promise combines forgiveness of sin with both abundant sustenance and grace: "Satan promises you poverty and bids you to commit indecency, whereas God promises you His forgiveness and bounty. God is Munificent, All-Knowing." (2: 268)
Satan normally paves the way to leading man into his trap by raising man's anxiety and fear of poverty. Hence, a believer's trust in God and reliance on Him provides the best support against Satan and his ploys. Reflect, if you will, on the following statement in the Qur'an: "Whenever you read the Qur'an, seek refuge with God from Satan, the accursed. He certainly has no power over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. He has power only over those who take him as patron, and thus ascribe to him a share in God's divinity." (16: 98-100)
It appears that even with the first man, Adam, the same tactics were employed by Satan. He started by raising feelings of worry and anxiety leading Adam to worry about the future.
Only then Adam became susceptible to be led astray by Satan who tempted him to eat of the forbidden tree, saying to both Adam and Eve: "Your Lord has only forbidden you this tree lest you two become as angels, or lest you live forever" (7- 20) "Adam, he said, Shall I lead you to the tree of life eternal, and to a kingdom that will never decay?" (20: 120)
Seeking pleasure beyond moderation, and a strong desire for possession, whether material or symbolic, as in sexual intercourse, may be motivated by strong feelings of frustration and deprivation, which need to be counter-balanced by such possessive desire.
Thus poverty, deprivation and worry about future poverty may generate a hostile feeling that strengthens the hostility generated by frustration, whether actual or feared. Such feelings provide Satan with much armor, so that he goes about his work depriving man of all feelings of peace and serenity. He then tempts man to indulge in sin and indecency.
On the other hand, prayer and reciting the Qur'an provide a feeling of reassurance and re-establish serenity. This is achieved through keeping man mindful of the need to place his trust in God. Prayer involves praising God, expressing thanks and gratitude to Him, and a declaration of being pleased with Him and what He has given us. All this more than counterbalances any feelings of frustration and anger.
Similarly, when a believer recites the Qur'an in prayer and at other times, he finds in such recitation a treatment of all worry.
Thus, he regains his reassurance and inner peace: "Those who have faith find their hearts' comfort in the remembrance of God. It is indeed in the remembrance of God that people's hearts find comfort." (13: 28)
Prayer, and all that it involves of movement and praises, generate within a believer a feeling of having accomplished something worthwhile that will remain to his credit. As such, it effectively deals with an important cause of anxiety, which is the sense of void and lack of accomplishments.
Whenever we close a door against worry, we deprive Satan of a major opportunity to delude us. He has no power over a believer who places all his trust in God.
On the other hand, prayer is an address to God and an appeal to Him, while reciting the Qur'an means listening to God's words and understanding His message. Thus, in both we maintain a dialogue with the Creator of the universe who is Compassionate, Ever-Present with us, Almighty, hearing and seeing all things and who responds to our love with a greater love. He considers our feelings and bestows His grace on us, great as He is and small as we certainly are.
As this dialogue with God, our most compassionate Lord, is renewed every day, we dispel all our feelings of being lonely in the universe. Thus, we close a main source of worry and anxiety. Indeed, philosophers have recognized this. Hence, those of them who are atheist find the only solution for man is spreading love among all people, while those of them who believe in God find in faith and the love it generates the best reassurance against anxiety.
All this reaffirms the central point we have been explaining: prayer, reciting the Qur'an and the remembrance of God give a believer protection against Satan's temptation. They repel sin, indecency and evil so as to become a source of happiness both in this life and in the life to come.
[i]"Islam in Perspective" - Arab News - 14 May 2001[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
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