What is the difference between a human and a chocolate bunny? This is a serious question. According to many atheists who adopt a naturalistic worldview, everything that exists is essentially a rearrangement of matter, or at least based on blind, non-conscious physical processes and causes.
If this is true, then does it really matter?
If I were to pick up a hammer and smash a chocolate bunny and then I did the same to myself, according to naturalism there would be no real difference. The pieces of chocolate and the pieces of my skull would just be rearrangements of the same stuff: cold, lifeless matter.
The typical response to this argument includes the following statements: "we have feelings", "we are alive", "we feel pain", "we have an identity" and "we’re human!" According to naturalism these responses are still just reduced to rearrangements of matter, or to be more precise, neuro-chemical happenings in one’s brain. In reality everything we feel, say or do can be reduced to the basic constituents of matter, or at least some type of physical process. Therefore, this sentimentalism is unjustified if one is an atheist, because everything, including feelings, emotions or even the sense of value, is just based on matter and cold physical processes and causes.
Returning to our original question: What is the difference between a human being and a chocolate bunny? The answer, according to the atheist perspective, is that there is no real difference. Any difference is just an illusion—there is no ultimate value. If everything is based on matter and prior physical causes and processes, then nothing has real value. Unless, of course, one argues that what matters is matter itself. Even if that were true, how could we appreciate the difference between one arrangement of matter and another? Could one argue that the more complex something is, the more value it has? But why would that be of any value? Remember, according to atheism nothing has been purposefully designed or created. It is all based on cold, random and non-conscious physical processes and causes.
The good news is that the atheists who adopt this perspective do not follow through with the rational implications of their beliefs. If they did, it would be depressing. The reason that they attribute ultimate value to our existence is because their innate dispositions, which have been created by God, have an affinity to recognise God and the truth of our existence.
From an Islamic point of view God has placed an innate disposition within us to acknowledge our worth, and to recognise fundamental moral and ethical truths. This disposition is called the fitrah in Islamic thought. Our claim of ultimate value is justified because God created us with a profound purpose, and preferred us to most of His creation. We have value because the One who created us has given us value.
"Now, indeed, We have conferred dignity on the children of Adam… and favoured them far above most of Our creation." (Quran 17:70)
"Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose." (Quran 3:191)
Islam values the good and those who accept the truth. It contrasts those who obey God and thereby do good, and those who are defiantly disobedient, and thereby do evil:
"Then is one who was a believer like one who was defiantly disobedient? They are not equal." (Quran 32:18)
Since naturalism rejects the hereafter and any form of Divine justice, it rewards the criminal and the peacemaker with the same end: death. We all meet the same fate. So what ultimate value do the lives of Hitler or Martin Luther King Jr. really have? If their ends are the same, then what real value does atheism give us? Not much at all.
However, in Islam, the ultimate end of those who worship God and are compassionate, honest, just, kind and forgiving is contrasted with the end of those who persist with their evil. The abode of the good is eternal bliss and the abode of the evil is Divine alienation. This alienation is a consequence of consciously denying God’s mercy and guidance, which inevitably results in spiritual anguish and torment. Clearly, Islam gives us ultimate value. However, under atheism, value cannot be rationally justified except as an illusion in our heads.
Despite the force of this argument, some atheists still object. One of their objections involves the following question: Why does God give us ultimate value? The answer is simple. God created and transcends the universe, and He has unlimited knowledge and wisdom. His names include The-Knowing and The-Wise. Therefore, what He values is universal and objective. Another way of looking at it is by understanding that God is the maximally perfect Being, which means He is free from any deficiency and flaw. Therefore, it follows that what He values will be objective and ultimate, because this objectivity is a feature of His perfection.
Another objection argues that even if we were to accept that God gives us ultimate value, it would still be subjective, as it would be subject to His perspective. This contention is premised on a misunderstanding of what subjectivity means. It applies to an individual’s limited mind and/or feelings. However, God’s perspective is based on unlimited knowledge and wisdom. He knows everything; we do not. The classical scholar Ibn Kathir states that God has the totality of wisdom and knowledge; we have its particulars. In other words: God has the picture, we merely have a pixel.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, provides an apt summary of the concept of human rights and dignity—which ultimately refer to value—in the absence of God:
"Before speaking of human responsibilities or rights, one must answer the basic religious and philosophical question, ‘What does it mean to be human?’ In today’s world everyone speaks of human rights and the sacred character of human life, and many secularists even claim that they are true champions of human rights as against those who accept various religious worldviews. But strangely enough, often those same champions of humanity believe that human beings are nothing more than evolved apes, who in turn evolved from lower life forms and ultimately from various compounds of molecules. If the human being is nothing but the result of ‘blind forces’ acting upon the original cosmic soup of molecules, then is not the very statement of the sacredness of human life intellectually meaningless and nothing but a hollow sentimental expression? Is not human dignity nothing more than a conveniently contrived notion without basis in reality? And if we are nothing but highly organized inanimate particles, what is the basis for claims to ‘human rights’? These basic questions know no geographic boundaries and are asked by thinking people everywhere."
We have value, but what value does the world have?
If I were to put you in a room with all your favourite games, gadgets, friends, loved ones, food and drink, but you knew that in five minutes you, the world and everything in it would be destroyed, what value would your possessions have? They wouldn’t have any at all. However, what is five minutes or 657,000 hours (equivalent to 75 years)? It is mere time. Just because we may live for 75 years does not make a difference. In the atheist worldview it will all be destroyed and forgotten. This is also true for Islam. Everything will be annihilated. So in reality the world intrinsically has no value; it is ephemeral, transient and short-lived. Nonetheless, from an Islamic perspective the world has value because it is an abode for getting close to God, good deeds and worship, which lead to eternal paradise. So it is not all doom and gloom. We are not on a sinking ship. If we do the right thing, we can gain God’s forgiveness and approval.
"There is terrible punishment in the next life as well as forgiveness and approval from God; so race for your Lord’s forgiveness…." (Quran 57:2-21)
Nasr, S. H. (2004). The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, p. 275.
Pilgrimage was ordained in the sixth year after the migration of the Prophet . It suffices for a pilgrim to do it once in a lifetime, and performing it more than once is voluntary.
A Pilgrim whose Hajj is accepted by Allah is given the good tidings that he would return with all his sins being forgiven. The Prophet says:“He who performs Hajj with no obscenity or evil practices will come out from all sins as a newly born baby.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
In this article, we will guide you through the steps of pilgrimage and try to be as brief as possible without leaving anything important out or un attended.
Upon arriving at the Meeqat (the place from where a pilgrim assumes the state of Ihram), perform Ghusl (a ritual bathe), perfume yourself, but not your pilgrimage garments, and put the two-piece garment on with no headgear. The garments should not be form-fitting. One piece to cover the upper part of the body, and the second to cover the lower part. The woman's Ihram (i.e. garment of pilgrimage) is any decent, loose garment that covers her entire body and that fulfills all Islamic conditions of Hijab, while exposing her face, hands and not using any perfumes. If the time comes for obligatory prayer whilst assuming Ihram, you should perform it. If not, you can pray two voluntary Rak'ahs after ablution.
You should initiate the state of Ihram by proclaiming the type of Hajj you intend to perform. For Hajj Al-Ifrad you should say: "Labbayka Allahumma Hajjan". For Hajj Al-Qiran you should say: "Labbayka 'Umratan wa Hajjan". For Hajj At-Tamattu' you should say: "Labbayka 'Umrah". After concluding his 'Umrah, one goes back to normal (no Ihram restrictions). Then, you repeat the supplication of Hajj, called Talbiyyah, saying: "Labbayka Allahumma labbayk. Labbayka la shareeka laka labbayk. Innalhamda wna-n'imata laka walmulk, la shareek lak".
When you are in a state of Ihram, you are not allowed to do any of the following: wear any form-fitting clothes, cut or shave hair from any part of the body, use perfumes on the body or clothes, clip your nails, engage in hunting, eat game meat (unless it was not exclusively hunted for him or another pilgrim), contract a marriage or have sexual intercourse and all matters leading to it. As for a woman pilgrim, she is forbidden to wear a Niqab (i.e. a veil that is tied on the face), or gloves. However, in the presence of men she draws down a veil from her head to cover her face.
Arriving in Makkah:
Upon arriving at the sacred mosque in Makkah (Al-Masjid Al-Haram), you should enter with your right foot and say: "Bismillah, Allahumma Salli 'Ala Muhammad, Allahumma Ighfirli waftahli Abwaba Rahmatik. (In the name of Allah! O Allah! Exalt the mention of your Messenger. O Allah! Forgive my sins, and open the gates of your mercy for me)." You should enter in a manner expressing humility and gratitude to the blessings He conferred upon you.
Before performing Tawaf (i.e. circumambulation), make sure that the sheets of Ihram are in Idh-Dhibaa' position (to wrap the upper sheet of Ihram below the right arm and hang over the left shoulder so that the right shoulder is uncovered), this is done exclusively during Tawaf.
Start Tawaf from the Black stone keeping the Ka'bah to your left. Kiss the Black Stone if possible, touch it with your right hand if possible, otherwise just point at it with your right hand, without harming others, saying: "Bismillah, Allah-u-Akbar". Then immerse your self in remembrance of Allah, supplication and asking for forgiveness.
Hasten during the first three rounds of Tawaf and walk during the remaining four. This fast walking is called Ramal.
Touch the Yamani Corner with your right hand whenever you pass by it if possible, without kissing it; if touching it is not possible, do not point at it. While you are passing between the two corners, it is recommended to say: "Rabbana Aatina Fid-Dunya Hasanatan Wa fil-Aakhirati Hasanatan Wa Qina 'Athabannar".
Circumambulate the Ka'bah for seven times starting from the Black Stone and ending by it; saying Allah-u-Akbar whenever you are parallel to it. After Tawaf, cover your right shoulder again, go to Maqam Ibraheem (Ibraheem's station) and recite: "Wattakhithoo Min Maqami Ibraheema Musalla" [Al-Baqarah: 125] you should recite this in Arabic if you know how, otherwise just perform two Rak'ahs behind it (if possible or anywhere in the mosque when crowded). Recite chapter 109 of the Quran in the first Rak'ah and chapter 112 in the second.
Ascend Mount As-Safa and recite (in Arabic only): "Inna As-Safa Wal-Marwata Min Sha'aa'irillah" [Al-Baqarah: 157]. After this you say: "I begin with what Allah began with." Face the Ka'bah and raise your hands in supplication saying thrice: "La Ilaha Illallah wahdah, Anjaza Wa'dah, Wa Nasar 'Abdah, Wa Hazamal-Ahzab Wahdah." Then supplicate for your self.
Descend from As-Safa and head to Al-Marwah, when you reach the two green signs, increase your pace between them and run. Then return to your normal pace until you reach Al-Marwah. Immerse your self in remembrance of Allah praying to him whilst walking.
Upon reaching Al-Marwah, ascend it, face the Ka'bah and say as you've said on As-Safa. Thus you have fulfilled one lap of seven. Going back to As-Safa, walk calmly and hasten on reaching the aforementioned green sign. The same steps are repeated in each of the seven laps.
Shaving the Head or Trimming the Hair:
After Sa'y, (i.e. walking between As-Safa and Al-Marwah seven times) if you are performing Hajj At-Tamatt'u it is preferable to trim (and not shave) your hair and with this you end your 'Umrah rites. At this stage, the prohibitions of the state of Ihram are lifted and you can resume your normal life. If you are performing Hajj al-Qiran or al-Ifrad, you remain in the state of Ihram and this Sa'y suffices you from having to do it at the end of Hajj.
The Tarwiyyah Day:
On the 8th of Thul-Hijjah, a Pilgrim performing Hajj At-Tamatt'u should assume Ihram again from where he is staying, saying: "Labbayka Allahumma Hajjan".
It is better to leave for Mina in the morning. In Mina, the pilgrims pray Thuhr, 'Asr, Maghrib and 'Ishaa' of the 8th and Fajr of the 9th ('Arafah day). Thuhr, 'Asr and 'Ishaa' are shortened to two Rak'ahs, but are not combined. One should increase remembrance of Allah and supplication, and repeat Talbiyyah.
Departure to 'Arafat:
On the 9th of Thul-Hijjah. ('Arafah day), you stay in 'Arafat until sunset. It is preferable to pray Thuhr and 'Asr at 'Arafat, shortened and combined during the time of Thuhr. Make sure that you stay within the boundaries of 'Arafat, not necessarily standing on the mountain of 'Arafat. You should spend most of the day glorifying Allah, supplicating and asking forgiveness, raising your hands in supplication as did the Prophet .
Leaving for Muzdalifa:
After sunset, on 'Arafah day, quietly and reverently leave for Muzdalifah in compliance with the advice of the Prophet . In Muzdalifah, the pilgrim combines Maghrib and 'Ishaa' prayers, shortening the 'Ishaa' prayer to two Rak'ahs. Spend the night in Muzdalifah to perform the Fajr prayer of the next day. Then you should immerse yourself in remembrance of Allah praying to Him.
Before sunrise, head to Mina to throw the pebbles. Walk calmly, repeating Talbiyyah throughout the way. When you reach Jamratul-'Aqabah, stop saying Talbiyyah and stone the seven pebbles saying: "Allah-u-Akbar" at each throw.
The end of the First Phase of the State of Ihram:
After stoning Jamratul-'Aqabah, the pilgrim goes to slaughter his sacrifice himself or he appoints somebody else to do it. He eats of it and feeds the poor. The final rite on the tenth day is to shave your head or shorten it. Shaving the head is more rewarding. For women, the length of hair to be cut is that of a fingertip. Stoning Jamraul-'Aqabah, and shaving the head or trimming the hair symbolize the end of the first phase of the state of Ihram and the lifting of its restrictions, except for sexual intercourse with one's spouse.
After performing all the aforementioned steps, go to Makkah to perform Tawaf Al-Ifadhah by circling the Ka'bah seven times and praying two Rak'ahs behind Maqam Ibraheem, without causing any harm to Muslims, otherwise any where in the Haram. Then perform Sa'y between As-Safa and Al-Marwah if you are performing Hajj At-Tamatt'u, or if you are performing Hajj al-Qiran, or al-Ifrad and did not perform it with your first Tawaf. After Tawaf Al-Ifadhah the state of Ihram ends and all restrictions are lifted, including sexual intercourse with one's spouse. Tawaf Al-Ifadhah can be delayed until the days spent in Mina are over.
Spending the Night at Mina:
After Tawaf Al-Ifadhah you should return to Mina and spend the days of Tashreeq there (11th, 12th and 13th of Thul-Hijjah). The first two nights are an obligatory rite of Hajj and must be fulfilled and the third one is optional.
During each of the days of Tashreeq, stone the three stone pillars called "Jamarat" (small, medium and Jamratul-'Aqabah) saying: "Allah-u-Akbar" with each throw of the seven pebbles, stoned successively at each pillar. The time of stoning the three Jamarat is after zenith. It is commendable, after stoning the first Jamarah and the second Jamarah, to face the direction of the Qiblah and supplicate to Allah. After Stoning the largest Jamarah (Jamaratul-'Aqabah), do not stop for supplication.
The farewell Tawaf is the final rite of Hajj. When you intend to go home, go to Makkah and perform the Farewell Tawaf around the Ka'bah. However, women in their menstrual or postnatal period are exempted from this Tawaf. - islamweb.net
Atheism is not an intellectual position that exists in a bubble. If its claims are true, then one would have to make some inevitable existential and logical conclusions that are very bleak. Under atheism, life is ludicrous. The following discussion may not provide a rational case for God, nor does it follow that God exists simply because life without God seems absurd. However, it does provide the fertile ground in which the rational arguments in this book take root.
Most atheists are philosophical naturalists who hold that there is no supernatural and everything in the universe can be explained in reference to physical processes. Atheism combined with philosophical naturalism is a recipe for existential disaster. The formula is simple: no God, which includes the associated concepts of Divine accountability, equals no ultimate hope, value and purpose. It also leads to no eternal and meaningful happiness. This conclusion is not an outdated religious cliché; it is a result of thinking rationally about the logical and existential implications of atheism.
No ultimate hope
Hope is defined as the feeling or expectation and desire for something to happen. We all hope for good lives, good health and a good job. Ultimately, we all hope for an immortal blissful existence. Life is such an amazing gift that no one really wants his or her conscious existence to end. Similarly, everyone desires that there will be some form of ultimate justice where wrongs are made right, and the relevant people will be held accountable. Significantly, if our lives are miserable, or experience pain and suffering, we hope for some peace, pleasure and ease. This is a reflection of the human spirit; we hope for light at the end of the dark tunnel, and if we have tranquillity and joy, we want to keep it that way.
Since atheism denies the Divine and the supernatural, it also rejects the concept of an afterlife. Without that, there can be no hope of pleasure following a life of pain. Therefore, the expectation for something positive to happen after our lives is lost. Under atheism we cannot expect any light at the end of the dark tunnel of our existence. Imagine you were born in the third world and spent your whole life in starvation and poverty. According to the atheist worldview, you are merely destined for death. Contrast this with the Islamic perspective: all instances of suffering that happen in our lives are for some greater good. Therefore, in the larger scheme of things, no pain or suffering we undergo is meaningless. God is aware of all our sufferings, and He will provide recompense. According to atheism, however, our pains are as meaningless as our pleasure. The immense sacrifices of the virtuous and the distress of the victim are falling dominoes in an indifferent world. They occur for no greater good and no higher purpose. There is no ultimate hope of an afterlife or any form of happiness. Even if we lived a life of pleasure and immense luxuries, most of us would inevitably be doomed to some form of evil fate or an incessant desire for more pleasure. The pessimist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer aptly described the hopelessness and ill fate that awaits us:
"We are like lambs in a field, disporting themselves under the eye of the butcher, who chooses out first one and then another for his prey. So it is that in our good days we are all unconscious of the evil fate may have presently in store for us—sickness, poverty, mutilation, loss of sight or reason… No little part of the torment of existence lies in this, that Time is continually pressing upon us, never letting us take breath, but always coming after us, like a taskmaster with a whip. If at any moment Time stays his hand, it is only when we are delivered over to the misery of boredom… In fact, the conviction that the world and man is something that had better not have been, is of a kind to fill us with indulgence towards one another. Nay, from this point of view, we might well consider the proper form of address to be, not Monsieur, Sir, mein Herr, but my fellow-sufferer, Socî malorum, compagnon de miseres!"
The Qur’an alludes to this hopelessness. It argues that a believer cannot despair; there will always be hope, and hope is connected to God’s mercy, and God’s mercy will manifest itself in this life and the hereafter:
"Certainly no one despairs of God’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve." (Quran 12:87)
Under atheism, ultimate justice is an unachievable goal—a mirage in the desert of life. Since there is no afterlife, any expectation of people being held to account is futile. Consider Nazi Germany in the 1940s. An innocent Jewish lady who just saw her husband and children murdered in front of her has no hope for justice when she is waiting for her turn to be cast into the gas chamber. Although the Nazis were eventually defeated, this justice occurred after her death. Under atheism she is now nothing, just another rearrangement of matter, and you cannot give reprieve to something that is lifeless. Islam, however, gives everyone hope for pure Divine, ultimate justice. No one will be treated unfairly and everyone shall be taken to account:
"On that Day, people will come forward in separate groups to be shown their deeds: whoever has done an atom’s weight of good will see it, but whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil will see that." (Quran 99:6-8)
"God created the heavens and the Earth for a true purpose: to reward each soul according to its deeds. They will not be wronged." (Quran 45:22)
Life, from the perspective of philosophical naturalism, is like a mother giving her child a toy and then taking it back for no reason. Life, without a doubt, is a wonderful gift. Yet any pleasure, joy and love we have experienced will be taken away from us and lost forever. Since the atheist denies the Divine and the hereafter, it means that the pleasures we have experienced in life will disappear. There is no hope of a continuation of happiness, pleasure, love and joy. However, under Islam, these positive experiences are enhanced and continued after our worldly life:
"They will have therein whatever they desire and We have more than that for them." (Quran 50:35)
"The people who lived a pious life will have a good reward and more…." (Quran 10:26)
"Verily, the dwellers of Paradise that Day, will be busy in joyful things… (It will be said to them): ‘Salamun’ (Peace be on you), a Word from the Lord, Most Merciful." (Quran 36:55-58)
Anas Ibn Malik said: "Whilst we were in the Mosque with the Messenger of Allah a Bedouin came and stood urinating in the Mosque. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah said, 'Stop it! Stop it!' and were about to attack him. But the Messenger of Allah said, 'Do not interrupt him; leave him alone.' So they left him until he had finished urinating, then the Messenger of Allah called him and said to him, 'In these Mosques it is not right to do anything like urinating or defecating; they are only for remembering Allah, praying and reading Qur'an,' or words to that effect. Then he commanded a man who was there to bring a bucket of water and throw it over the (urine), and he did so." (Muslim) The principle which the Prophet followed in dealing with this mistake was to treat the man gently, not to be harsh with him.
The Prophet was thinking of the likely consequences of the two options - stopping him or leaving him alone. If they tried to stop him, forcing a man to suppress his urination could do him harm, and if he was unable to stop but moved away because he was afraid of them, the impurity would be spread over a wider area of the Mosque and on the man's body and clothing. The Prophet had the farsightedness to see that leaving the man alone until he had finished urinating was the lesser of two evils, especially since the man had already started doing it, and it was a problem that they would be able to do something about by cleaning it afterwards. So he told his companions to leave him alone and not to interrupt him.
Ibn Hajar mentioned in his commentary a number of things we learn from the hadith about the Bedouin, among which are the following:
- We should be gentle when dealing with one who is ignorant and teach him what he needs to know without rebuking him, so long as he is not acting out of stubbornness, especially if he is one who needs to be won over.
- The Prophet was kind and he dealt nicely with him.
- The idea of taking precautions against impurity was established well in the minds of the Sahabah (Prophet's companions), which is why they hastened to denounce it in the presence of the Prophet without first asking his permission. The idea of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil was also well established in their minds.
- We should also hasten to remove anything objectionable when there is nothing to stop us from doing so, because when the man had finished urinating, the Prophet issued instructions that the place should be cleaned with water.
Explaining the seriousness of the mistake
Ibn 'Umar, Muhammad Ibn Ka'b, Zayd Ibn Aslam and Qutadah reported (the following is compiled from their reports) that during the campaign of Tabook, a man said, "We have never seen anyone who loves food and tells lies more than our rectors, or anyone who is more cowardly in the battlefield" - referring to the Messenger of Allah and his Companions. Awf Ibn Malik said, 'You are lying! You are a hypocrite, and I am going to tell the Messenger of Allah . ' Awf went to the Messenger of Allah to tell him, but found that Qur'an had already been revealed concerning it. That man came to the Prophet who was riding his camel, and said, "O Messenger of Allah we were only talking idly and joking, just to pass time in the journey." Ibn 'Umar said, "It is as if I saw him hanging onto the reins of the Prophet's camel, with the stones hitting his feet, saying, "We were only talking idly and joking," whilst the Messenger of Allah was reciting (what means):
”Say: ‘Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?’” (Qur'an 9: 65)We see that the prophet’s reply to these abominable remarks was by reciting some verses of the Qur’an by which this man was told that Allah and His Messenger are far above mocking. He didn’t become enraged or order that the man should be punished severely. Any one else may do that, but the Prophet was sent as a mercy to all creation and to be an example of how people should behave. - islamweb.net
As human beings, one of the greatest desires in life is the search for peace.
Many psychologists argue that the greatest human drive is the search for peace, that whatever humans do, they do so seeking peace and tranquility.
Similarly, one of the names of Paradise in the Quran is Dar As-Salam (House of Peace). One of the names of God is As-Salam, the Perfect, the source of all peace. The word Islam itself is related to the word "salam" which means peace.
Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said that there is a Paradise on this earth, which one needs to enter, to enter the Paradise of the Hereafter. This Paradise, he says, is the tranquility and contentment of the heart.
Contentment of the heart is a very difficult trait to have. The world around us, and things that happen to us usually make us very troubled individuals.
The Road to Tranquility
However, like anything in Islam, the road to tranquility is not a state of being. It is a path that has to be walked upon and deeds that need to be done in order for us to reach that station where we are at peace with ourselves.
Part of the desire to achieve tranquility has been embedded in ourselves. God put inside of us an emptiness that can only be filled by God. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim writes a profound paragraph on this.
"In the heart, there is a sense of untidiness which can only be gathered by turning to God.
And in the heart there is a sense of loneliness which can only be removed by coming closer to God.
And in the heart there is fear and anxiety, which only leaves by fleeing to God.
And in the heart there is a sense of regret, which can only be removed by being satisfied with God."
Tranquility and serenity can only arrive when we reach a position where we know the reality of our life, and the Majesty of God. It is understanding the verse of Surah Ar-Rahman (Chapter 55) where God says:
"Everything on earth will perish. But the face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honor remains." (Quran 55:26-7)
Whatever is on earth will perish. Whatever it is that makes us worried, will perish. Whatever makes us sad, will go away. Whatever makes us irritable and angry is transient.
Everything that is done without seeking the pleasure of God will just go, but that which is done seeking His pleasure and His Grace, will endure and live on. This changes our perspective on life completely.
Death, loss, heartbreak, and detachment are no longer as painful as they used to be, because at the end of the day, expectations come down to zero.
When one expects nothing, everything they get is a source of pleasure, and everything they do not get is a not something that is that troublesome.
The focus in life becomes God, Master of the Universe, not how many likes one gets on Facebook, who likes their picture, who gave a compliment, etc.
Life seems much more than these petty issues. One learns to forgive those who hurt them, cherish those who love them, and to subdue the ego, because what use is an ego for one who is going to be worm buffet six feet under the ground two days later?
Writer Jose Addison said that human beings need three things to be happy—something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. All of these can be found in this verse of the Quran:
"And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the God-conscious." (Quran 3:133)
Something to do—hasten to forgiveness.
Something to love—forgiveness from your Lord.
Something to hope for—Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth.
So, how is it that we attain tranquility?
We mentioned earlier that it is a process, and a process requires steps. There are many, so this article will hope to help one understand the beginning.
1. Understand the Majesty of God
Understand who God is, and how great He is.
One who understands the greatness of God will find peace knowing that everything else is petty and small.
2. Understand the Reality of this Life
When we know that life is more than just the "bling bling" that we see, we understand that at all times our focus should be forward-thinking. Understanding that the next life is everlasting helps us in keeping our focus and not losing our minds over the affairs of this world.
3. Remembering God at all times helps us keep our focus.
Human beings are prone to forgetfulness and the constant remembrance of God reminds us of God at all times and places. One of the advice of the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was:
Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of God.
"In the remembrance of God do hearts find rest." (Quran 13:28)
4. Be Thankful
"If you are thankful, I will increase you." (Quran 14:7)
If we are thankful, God will give us more and more of everything that we have and even more. He will keep increasing us, and it will also be in the form of our tranquility.
5. Be Content with God’s Decree
One of the best roads to tranquility is being content with God.
It is in understanding that no matter what happens to us, God’s plan is best. When we are content with God’s decree, we will work hard, we will do our best but be content with whatever result comes our way.
God’s decree is Divine, and not always understandable to us in the here and now. Only when we look back do we understand how God’s plan was perfect. God’s plan for us is the best for us, and knowing that makes life incredibly peaceful.
May God make us people who are tranquil in life, and tranquil in death.
May God make us among those who hear this call:
"O tranquil soul, return to your Lord, pleased and pleasing to Him. Enter My Garden, Enter my Paradise." (Quran 89:26-30) -islamreligion.com