Oct 15, 2012

Life's Kitchen

By Shazia Arif


Have you ever seen an advertisement for a life counseling event? What does it usually say? ‘Road to success!’ or ‘Come and find out all the tips and secrets to a successful life’ and so on. As appealing as these offers may sound there are two catches to it, firstly they charge a crazy amount of money- and when I say crazy, I mean it!- and secondly, they’re temporary, the peace and enjoyment you get out of it doesn’t last. Before you think you are doomed for life, I have some life counseling tips I’d like to offer you (yes they’re free!) Did I write them? Nope, rather the King of all Kings, Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala, did. Where did He present these tips? In His glorious Book the Quran. Let’s have a look at our recipe for success!

Certainly will the believers have succeeded (Quran 23:1)

In the very beginning of the Surah, Allah subhaana wa ta'aala mentions that the believers have already succeeded. I want you to notice something about the translation; the past tense is mentioned, which gives the meaning that this success has already taken place! They have succeeded in this world and in the hereafter. But who are these people that have already gotten success?

They who are during their prayer humbly submissive (Quran 23:2)

Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala mentions the quality of prayer our very first ingredient, but just any type of prayer or a specific type? Ibn `Abbas said: "(Khashi`un) means those with fear and with tranquility.'' What a beautiful quality is mentioned! A perfect balance between fear and hope. How do these people act? They lower their gaze and are humble towards others. Khushu` in prayer is only attained by the one who has emptied his heart totally, who does not pay attention to anything else besides it, and who prefers it above all else. Khushu’ is not something that will drop down from the sky one day, you have to want it and develop it, those who submit from their hearts will submit on the outside through their limbs. 
And they who turn away from ill speech (Quran 23:3) 

What does ill speech refer to? It refers to falsehood which includes: shirk, and sin, and any words or deeds that are of no benefit. What do we have so far for our recipe of success? Praying Salah with Khushu’ and turning away from ill speech/anything that isn’t beneficial. Next ingredient?

And they who are observant of zakah (Quran 23:4)

Here the word ‘zakah’ has two meanings. First meaning is of wealth. They pay their yearly zakah on their wealth by which their wealth is purified. The second meaning is of tazkiya (purification) which gives the meaning of purifying the soul from shirk and other filth. And just as they pay zakah on their wealth continuously, they always have a constant check on their soul and keep it purified from the wrong.

And they who guard their private parts Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed - But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors (Quran 23:5-7)

Those who guard their private parts, what do they guard it from? They guard it from forbidden acts; fornication and homosexuality. Rather they fulfill their desires through the means Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala has provided; their wives and slave girls. Not only is this right, but one gets reward for doing this! A 2 in 1 offer! Now that’s not something you get in a regular life counseling session. But if someone seeks a means to fulfill his desire beyond what Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala has allowed then that 2 in 1 offer is gone and rather he is sinful and blameworthy for it. The recipe is easy so far right? Let’s check the next step!

And they who are to their trusts and their promises attentive (Quran 23:8)

This sounds like a small and simple step but is a huge responsibility! They stay true to their word and promises, be it big or small. When they are entrusted with something they handle it with care and return the trust exactly how it was given to them. The prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he is entrusted with something he betrays that trust.” Now that’s scary! Imagine not giving attention to such simple tasks can put you with the hypocrites! Not to mention that they have the worst punishment of all; thrown into the depths of Hell Fire! (May Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala save us all from His punishment ameen)
And they who carefully maintain their prayers (Quran 23:9)

Salah is mentioned again! That shows the important of praying it. Here another quality is mentioned with Salah, the quality of maintaining the Salah. What falls under maintaining the Salah? Praying your Salah on time, having the prerequisites of Salah such as wudu (ablution), wearing clean clothes, and, praying in a clean area. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam had mentioned that the best deed was praying Salah on time.

Our recipe is now complete! But what do you think that after following all these steps Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala won’t tell you what you’ve earned? Of course He will. Have a look: 

Those are the inheritors Who will inherit al-Firdaus. They will abide therein eternally
(Quran 23:10-11)

The reward is Jannah, but something particular about Jannah; Al Firdaus. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “If you ask Allah for Paradise, then ask him for Al-Firdaws, for it is the highest part of Paradise, in the middle of Paradise, and from it spring the rivers of Paradise, and above it is the (Mighty) Throne of the Most Merciful.”- Bukhari and Muslim. Just try to imagine that the reward for all your hard work will be living under the Throne of Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala in Jannah...forever!

The success of your life will be measured on the Day of Judgment, and to get the best on that Day you have to follow the guidelines that are given by the Judge on that Day!

Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala has given the best life counselling tips right here in these 11 ayahs! Start following these and watch everything in your life come into accordance, and you’ll find yourself content, but this time from within!

*Note: The explanation of the ayahs have been taken from Tafseer Ibn Kathir

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


Excellent explanation in a very practical way, may Allah bless you for your effort....Aameen

loved it JazalALLAH khyr...Specially the way message is presented serious message in friendly practical tone..May ALLAH make us to implement it in our lives...InasALLAH

This is such an amazing article!!
So Simply put and explained - May we all benefit from it immensely!!
May this deed take you to jannatul firdous-Ameen ya rabbul alameen
Just what we all needed before the commence of Dhull hijjah :)
Jazak Allah khair Shazia!

JazakAllah Khair for everyone's kind words! And Ameen to all the duas :)

Assalamu alaikum, I loved how you added a short explanation after each ayah..and your writing style really kept my interest!

SubHanAllah!!! Lovely writing, jazakAllah khair :)
By the way sister,regarding fulfilling desires through slave girls--could u kindly explain it in details or provide me good links/sources from which I can learn about the matter?

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