It is easy for one to talk about righteous deeds and actions and all required steps to achieve them. Yet in today’s society and busy life and lack of time to focus, one may need more details and specific directions and activities to guide him through this great journey.
This series on the topic of purification of the soul will provide you with steps and give you directions to accommodate you in your great journey..
In the first part of this series, we stressed the fact that acceptable actions must be according to the Quran, as well as the traditions or Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
We also stressed that within the above framework, we have to be conscious of two elements that go hand in hand. These are sincerity coupled with correctness. One without the other renders the action not acceptable.
Sincere means nothing but the desire to please Allah and correct is the one that is according to the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet.
Allah the Exalted says what means:
(And who is better in religion than the one who submits his face to Allah and is a doer of good?) (Al-Nisaa 4:125)
How to Achieve This Goal?
The first step is to acquire knowledge. However, knowledge by itself would not lead one to the state of purification of the soul.This is a long journey and a process that requires serious seekers with serious intentions.
A self-satisfied soul would always be happy in its current state and will not strive to refine it. The yearning soul, however, strives each day to find ways to leave behind unwanted vices and acquire noble virtues.
Let us examine the following verse which means,
(O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam with complete submission to Allah.) (Aal Imran 3:102)
One may wonder about the meaning of “state of Islam and complete submission”.Actually, the two terms are interchangeable and mean submission to Allah. But how would one really do that?
The first step is to acquire knowledge of the Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad. Furthermore, one would enhance this knowledge by reading about the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, his wives, household, and righteous companions.
Also, many great scholars have written inspiring books regarding purification of the soul in conjunction with the Quranand the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).Humans can achieve purification according to their zest and motivation. For some, the motivation is forgiveness of their sins and for others; it is a much deeper relationship with their Lord in addition to the above. Allah says what means,
(O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and always speak the truth, He will direct you to do righteous deeds and will forgive you your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed achieved a great achievement.) (Al-Ahzab 33:70-1)
We can take this verse a step deeper and look into a hadith to see other components of righteous deeds.Prophet Muhammad said,
The two feet of the son of Adam will not move from near his Lord on the Day of Judgment until he is asked about five (matters):- 1) about his life – how he spent it; 2) about his youth – how he took care of it; 3) about his wealth – how he earned it; 4) and where he spent it; 5) and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge that he acquired. (At-Tirmidhi)
In order for these actions to be acceptable, the condition of the heart and soul must be in an elevated state, remembering Allah in all and every facet of one’s life.
The last item mentioned in the hadith above, “and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge that he acquired,” is a key element which has two connotations: One refers to the person who acquires knowledge of his religion with the intention to please his Creator. This person would certainly take extra care to fulfill his duty in such a way as to remove all doubtful and incorporate all righteous actions, intentions and deeds.
The other is a warning that those who have knowledge and do not act upon it are held equally responsible for trading God given wisdom with their own selfish desires. This is a greater sin than the one committed by a total ignorant.
If humankind knew what is awaiting them in the Hereafter as a reward for their righteous actions, they would but leave all in this life that would not be of benefit to them in the Hereafter and adopt only the righteous deeds.
Allah, Glory be to Him, paints vivid pictures of Paradise and the reward of the good doers. We know He speaks only the truth. Should we not then heed to such glorious promises and give the consequences of our deeds serious consideration?
Allah gives glad tidings of Paradise to the righteous in the Quran by saying what means,
(Eat and drink with happiness because of what you used to.) (At-Tur 52:19)
(And it will be cried out to them: This is the Paradise you have inherited for what you used to do!) (Al-A`raf 7:43)
(Thus Allah rewards the pious, those whose lives the Angels take while they are in a pious state saying: Peace be upon you, enter you Paradise because of that which you used to do.) (An-Nahl 16:32)
O Allah, let us be among your chosen servants and make our hearts willing to embrace your love by being conscious of our actions. Give us pure and sincere hearts to walk the path of righteousness.
By Raya Shokatfard