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The Very Real Benefits of Believing In the Unseen PDF Print E-mail
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Islam - Islam
Written by Sadaf Farooqui, OnIslam.net   
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 00:22

Imagine attending an event where everything, from the carpets, to the drapery, to the furniture, dish-ware, cutlery, floral arrangements, to the lighting, color coordination and menu are no less than picture-perfect!


Besides enjoying the perfect environs, what else are you sure the guests would do?

They will undoubtedly inquire about who or which company arranged and managed the event so impeccably. The more high-class and sophisticated the cuisine, decor and ambiance, the greater the received praise for the organizers and event managers who brought it all together.

The same can be said for any perfectly made, exotic culinary dish or dessert; a classy and visually appealing dress or outfit, or any other product of human ingenuity and creativity: the more valuable and finished the end-product, the greater the praise it will get, and the higher esteem, demand, and value will its ‘creator’ garner and enjoy.

It is no wonder then that the “designers” who make it big in their respective industries regardless of what they design or create - be it clothing, home interiors, civic infrastructure, furniture, jewelry, food, hairstyles, technological gadgetry, or scientific inventions - are recognized and respected through and because of their created products. The more fault-free, visually appealing, smoothly functional and beneficial for general use the latter are, the more value, money, respect, demand and awe will its designer be able to demand and receive.

Now imagine if when the guests at the beautifully decorated event inquire which company or individual created the idea behind it and then succeeded in practically executing it so perfectly, they are told that no one did anything; rather, everything just automatically fell into place on its own, without anyone calling the shots.

 


 

One of the remarkable qualities of those who believe in the Unseen is how they remain calm and unruffled in face of both extreme grief or euphoric joy.


 

 

Would you expect anyone with a sane mind to believe this story?

Any eye that observes and any receptive heart that reflects, can easily ‘find’ Him and believe in Him.
Analogically, God has created whatever is in the heavens and the earth, and He has done an awe-inspiring perfect job of creation that takes one’s breath away, even if one ponders upon only the most microscopic, minuscule aspect of one of His creations, such as the structure of a single human cell, or the intricate way the wing of a mosquito is made.

The Creator has spread all of the signs of His powers around us, which point clearly to His omnipotence and omnipresence, beholding which, any eye that observes and any receptive heart that reflects, can easily ‘find’ Him and believe in Him, without even seeing Him.

What is Al-Ghaib?

The Arabic word “ghaib” means that which is absent, hidden, remote, distant or concealed, beyond the reach of perception by sense or mental abilities. (Lane’s Lexicon)

The above example was actually an analogy for the Islamic faith in the Unseen, or “Al-Ghaib” - that which is not physically perceptible or visible. Al-Ghaib (The Unseen) forms a foundational basis of a Muslim’s creed, upon which their outwardly righteous actions are based, and upon the purity and correctness of which, they will be granted acceptance and fruition by God:

{This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance for those who are conscious (of Allah). Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them;} (Al-Baqarah 2: 2-3)

Abu Jafar Al-Razi quoted Al-Rabi` ibn Anas, reporting from Abu Al-Aliyah about God's statement, {Those who have faith in the Al-Ghaib}, “They believe in Allah, His angels, Books, Messengers, the Last Day, His Paradise, Fire and in the meeting with Him. They also believe in life after death and in Resurrection. All of this is the Ghaib.'' (Tafsir ibn Kathir)

As Muslims, the basic foundation of our faith lies upon our belief in a deity that we cannot see, hear, or feel - Allah, the one and only God, - and the other beings or entities created by Him that we can also not see, hear, or feel, such as His angels, Divine revelation, Paradise and Hell Fire, the Hereafter of which the life in the grave or “barzakh” is also a part, and the Preserved Tablet, to name a few.

There is one additional aspect of believing in the Unseen and that applies only to those Muslims who believed in and loved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) without having seen him or met him, which includes us. For such, there is greater reward for believing in him than those who lived with him and witnessed him receive the Divine revelation right in their midst. This means that for us, Prophet Muhammad too, is part of believing in the Unseen.

How Believing In Al-Ghaib Affects the Muslim

Since the life of this world is a test, it would not hold any meaning had each human being been able to clearly see and hear God, and then promptly believed in Him as the one and only God. If God were to reveal Himself in His full majesty, all of mankind would fall into prostration and believe in Him without even a moment’s hesitation or shadow of a doubt.

So God hid Himself and all His mighty powers behind a curtain of the Unseen, but left His signs everywhere for mankind to ponder, reflect upon and seek Him through. He then intermittently sent His Messengers and revealed His Scriptures to guide mankind on how to dwell on earth according to His commands to gain His ultimate pleasure.

Those who believe in God, His angels, Books, past Prophets, and the hereafter without having seen Him, are very different from those who do not believe; who deny the omnipresence of one God and the components of the unseen.

Below are a few of the effects that their faith in the Unseen has upon their lives and persons:

Detachment from the World and What’s in It: Indifference to Worldly Gain

The life of this world is full of outward glitter and material blessings, which mankind covets and pursues in order to maximize their comforts, pleasures and enjoyment of this life.

The ever-present reality of death often does little to thwart this “hot pursuit” among most people. However, the believer whose heart is firmly convinced of the Unseen i.e. the eternal, permanent life of the hereafter; who fears the accountability and retribution therein, possesses and displays a consistent praiseworthy emotional detachment to the temporary and frivolous enjoyments and pleasures of the life of this world.


The ever-tempting world calls mankind towards itself, but its reality turns out to be the exact opposite of its outer facade, leaving nothing but a feeling of emptiness inside the one who lusts after it.

 


Consistency and Steadfastness upon Good Actions Based on Unswerving Conviction

People who have no belief in God or the Last Day, do whatever they want, as, when, and how they want to. Some of them refrain from doing anything wrong out of fear of worldly authorities or law enforcement agencies, but the minute these latter forces become ineffective, they commit crimes or breaches against the law, wronging others in a frenzied state of lust, anger, hunger, or greed.

As the flip side of the same coin, such who do not believe in the Unseen (in particular, the eternal blessings of the Last Day that will never wane), end up loving and coveting the material provisions, luxuries and other tangible blessings of the life of this world. They find it difficult to quell their greed for material wealth, and constantly work hard to achieve these tangible goals during the short life of this world.

Believers in the Unseen however, practice “delayed gratification”. They do every good deed, small or big, hidden or open, out of a conviction of receiving reward for it in the hereafter. On the same token, they also abstain from, and regularly repent for, evil deeds, unintentional wrongdoings and sins, out of fear of God (not out of fear of anyone else), whom they believe to be all-knowing, all-aware. Because of this, they do not commit injustices or crimes even in the absence of law enforcing agencies or ruling authorities.

As a result, one of the greatest impacts of believing in the Unseen that is apparent on sincere believers is their consistency and steadfastness upon doing good and abstaining from evil, in public or in private, even where no one else besides God can see them.

Moderation in Expressions of Joy and Grief

Believing in the Unseen, such as the eternal joys and torments in the hereafter, enables and empowers believers to undermine those in this world as insignificant, trivial, and most of all, transient and temporary in nature.

One of the remarkable qualities of those who believe in the Unseen is how they remain calm and unruffled in face of both extreme grief or euphoric joy.

During the former, they practice patience and forbearance to gain the pleasure of God, keeping their trust and hope in Him to grant imminent relief from distress and ease after adversity.

And during phases of pleasure and happiness in which they receive worldly blessings of any sort, they remain cool and collected in their expression of joy, thanking God in their hearts for granting them happiness, and expressing their gratitude through their external faculties moderately, by not doing anything to enjoy themselves that could anger God, break His rules, or cross His limits.

Total Reliance upon the Creator, No Expectations from Creation

As if all the above effects of believing in the Unseen are not incredible enough, this belief also “frees” a believer from having expectations of perfection from God's creation.

What this means in layman’s terms is, that by putting their complete trust in God only, a believer never gets disappointed when people, due to their human shortcomings, limited intellect and weaknesses/failings, time and again let him down, or behave in a manner contrary to, or lower than, what he expected from them.

A person who believes in preordainment (which is also a part of belief in the Unseen) knows that whatever benefit or loss he or she will encounter in life was written in his or her decree by God. For example, if death or loss overtakes their family suddenly, they will not lament the apparent, physical, worldly causes of this sad occurrence, but instead, accept it as the decree of God that came to pass despite full human efforts to avert it.

Conclusion

Believing in the Unseen embodies the antithesis of the apparent but deceptive glitter, glamor, and attractiveness that God has cloaked over the life of this world as a test of faith. The ever-tempting world calls mankind towards itself, but its reality turns out to be the exact opposite of its outer facade, leaving nothing but a feeling of emptiness inside the one who lusts after it.

As for belief in the Unseen, it might outwardly appear to be ‘illogical’ to the disbelievers (who scoff at those who give up worldly enjoyment in obedience of a God they cannot even see), boring, un-enjoyable and dull as a way of life, but it is actually the best way to live in this world, as it brings tranquility upon the soul, happiness to the heart, and peace to the mind, freeing the self from pursuit of base desires and temptations, and turning it unswervingly towards the submission and worship of its Creator.

 

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