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All human beings are in constant need of Divine grace and the opportunity to earn His pleasure. Our human power — no matter how great — can’t give us immortality and eternal bliss. With or without our consent, we are heading to the clutches of death. But as we all know, death is not the end. Death is simply the start of a journey from this world to the Divine presence. To our Creator is our ultimate return and on the Great Day of Final Judgment, we will be asked about, and held accountable for, our thoughts, intentions, feelings, motives, and actions. Not one human soul can escape this reality, no matter how much he denied during his lifetime this meeting with the Lord, the Almighty.
Yet how many of us lead our lives with full consciousness of this reality? Why can’t we keep this awareness as we ought to do? Why do many of us fail to elevate ourselves? Allah The Almighty, our creator who knows all of our affairs—hidden or manifest — tells us in the Quran: “Verily, he truly prospers who purifies himself and glorifies the name of the Guardian-Lord, and (lifts his heart) in prayer. But you prefer the life of this world, whereas the life hereafter is better and ever- lasting. This indeed is what is taught in the former scriptures, the scriptures of Abraham and Moses.” (87:15-20)
Many times we're distracted by our jobs, professions, families, and businesses from the remembrance of Allah, which leads us from staying in contact with our Creator.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), said: "I am as close to My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me, I also remember him, and if he remembers Me in a gathering, then I remember him in a gathering, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near t o Me by the span of a hand-span, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near Me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him.
The first and foremost point is the emphasis on purification—cleansing ourselves from all manner of defilement. We are created in a very complex fashion and our minds, hearts, and physical bodies are in constant fluctuation and vulnerable to imbalance. Likewise, our faith increases and decreases, and so our manners in dealing with other people can be of greater or lesser quality. Therefore, it’s a matter of ongoing struggle, to engage in the process of contemplation and self-examination, continually striving to perfect our manners in our relationship with ourselves, with others, and above all, in our relationship with our Lord. This battle of our inner forces, of the heart and the ego, is the scene for the “testing period” here on earth.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also reminded us: “Be heedful! There is a piece of flesh in your bodies that when it is well, the rest of you is well, and when it is sick, the rest of you is sick. Know that it is the heart.” Veritably, a heart is healthy when it is cleansed of wrongful concerns and heedless impulses, those being put right by the practice of good morals and genuine surrender to Allah.
Every soul is created in a pure form, but as we live and engage in human society, our personalities are shaped by multiple influences. Some are positive and some are negative. Therefore, we have to consciously strive to discern what elevates us and what debases us, and use our Allah-given faculties to cultivate the best elements within ourselves and eliminate the rest. Only a sound heart will find entry into Paradise.
Remembrance of Allah is the key to spiritual elevation and success. Reading Allah's word in the Quran and reading the explanation of it in the Prophet Muhammad's actions is the first step to constantly being conscious of one's Creator.
The remembrance of Allah should never be absent from our hearts and minds no matter where we are and whoever or whatever we are dealing with. Indeed, successful will be the ones who earn Allah’s grace on the Day of Judgment, whose balance of good deeds will be weightier than that of their bad deeds; and that only proceeds from a cultivated habit of remembering Allah and what He has ordained.
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