High Spirit…the Way of Developed Nations

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “So race for your Lord’s forgiveness and a Garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers: that is Allah’s bounty, which He bestows on whoever He pleases. Allah’s bounty is infinite.” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

Through its sublime morals, Islam encourages people to work hard, endeavor, strive, have high spirit, and develop the world. Islam also prohibits laziness and corruption. This goes in conformity with the teachings of previous Divine Messages. The Almighty Allah says, “Has he not been told what was written in the Scriptures of Moses, and of Abraham, who fulfilled his duty: that no soul shall bear the burden of another; and that each person will only have what they endeavored towards, that his labor will be seen; and that in the end he will be repaid in full for it.” The Prophet (PBUH) showed the value of high spirit saying, “Allah is the Most Generous and He Loves Generosity; He loves the lofty morals and hates base ones.” Umar Ibn Al-Khattab said, “Do not be people of low spirit! I never saw anything that hinders from [achieving] great ranks more than low spirit does.” It is said that “a sign of one’s perfect mind is his high spirit.” Poet Al-Mutanabbi said:

I never saw a fault in people’s characters

Worse than the competent’s losing perfection

It is noteworthy that high spirit is not limited to one area. It must be present at all acts that a person does. This includes: the Worship of Allah. The Shari’ah has encouraged us to compete in the area of worship, as the Almighty Allah says, “Hurry towards your Lord’s forgiveness and a Garden as wide as the heavens and earth prepared for the righteous.” The Almighty Allah promises great reward for those who strive in their acts of worship saying, “But if anyone desires the life to come and strives after it as he should, as a true believer, his striving will be thanked.”

The Prophet (PBUH) was a person of high spirit in all of his affairs, including his worship. Allah (Glory be to Him) addressed him saying, “You [Prophet], enfolded in your cloak! Stay up throughout the night, all but a small part of it, half, or a little less, or a little more; recite the Quran slowly and distinctly: We shall send a momentous message down to you.” This was why the Prophet (PBUH) used to offer night prayers till his feet became swollen. When he was asked about that, he said, ‘Should not I be a thankful slave of Allah)?”

The Prophet (PBUH) used to encourage his Companions and followers to achieve excellence and have high spirit. He once said, “if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for the Firdaus, for it is the last part of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of Beneficent [Allah], and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise.” Companion Rabi’ah Ibn Ka’b said, “I was with Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) one night. I brought him water and what he required. He said to me: Ask (anything you like). I said: I ask your company in Paradise. He (PBUH) said: Or anything else besides it. I said: That is all (what I require). He said: Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself often to prostration.”

Having high spirit in the worship means to perfect its performance, and to be reflected on one’s behaviors and morals. That means one should not lie, betray, forge, or consume others’ properties. In that way, one’s behaviors go in line with the goal of his worship; thus, straightness, which is the basis of this religion, will be achieved.

One of the most important spheres to have high spirit in is seeking knowledge: The Prophet (PBUH) commanded us to ask Allah to grant us useful knowledge that benefits all humans. He (PBUH) said, “Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from knowledge that is of no benefit.” Ones of the Prophet’s supplications is “(O Allah, I seek refuge with You from knowledge that is of no benefit…” Useful knowledge is the real weapon that achieves strength for nations. No one country can develop without knowledge, and backwardness of any nation means backwardness in knowledge.

The Companions of the Prophet and their follower showed due diligence in seeking knowledge. For example, Abu Hurayrah has very high spirit in studying the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH). He said, “Nothing has driven me away from studying the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) even if the wedding parties of my neighbors, or trade. All that I cared for is to listen for a word from the Prophet (PBUH)…”  Ibn Umar said to Abu Hurairah, “You are the most knowledgeable among us in the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH)” Ibn Abbas said, “Whenever I learned that a man had heard a Hadith directly from the Prophet (PBUH) and I found him taking an afternoon nap, I would place my cloak against his door to shield my face from the wind until he came out. He would say: “What has brought you here, cousin of Allah’s Messenger?’ I would reply: “A Hadith that I have learned you heard directly from the Prophet and that I wished to hear directly from you.” He would say: “Why did not you send for me to come to you?” I would say: “It was more right for me to come to you.” Isma’il Ibn Yahya said, “I heard Al-Shafi’i saying, ‘I memorized the Glorious Qur’an when I was sever years old, and I Memorized the book of Al-Muwatta’ when I was ten years old.’” It is reported that Imam Ahmadi Ibn Hanbal memorized one million Hadiths. Imam al-Nawawi is reported to study 12 lessons daily.

Our early scholars strove for carrying the responsibility of knowledge in all fields. They conveyed its message to the people objectively, for the sake of Allah, and for the benefit of all humanity. Therefore, they recorded their names and their knowledge with letters of light in the memory of history. The Almighty Allah said, “The froth disappears, but what is of benefit to man stays behind- this is how Allah makes illustrations.”

One of the fields wherein man shall show good determination is work, since the Islamic Sharia has elevated it. The Holy Quran clearly shows that work and worship are two peers. Allah, Most High, says, “And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.” In addition, He, the Almighty, promised those who well preform their due work with good life in this world and the eternal blessing in the Hereafter, “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do” and “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.”

The fact that work is one of the most sublime acts in this life is proved by the fact that all the prophets and Messengers of Allah were workers. For example, Adam, Ibrahim and Lut (may Allah’s peace be upon them all) were farmers; Nuh (PBUH) was a carpenter; Idris (PBUH) was a tailor; Saleh (PBUH) was a trader; and Dawud (PBUH) was a blacksmith. Allah, the Almighty, says: “And We certainly gave David from Us bounty. [We said], “O mountains, repeat [Our] praises with him, and the birds [as well].” And We made pliable for him iron, (10) [Commanding him], “Make full coats of mail and calculate [precisely] the links, and work [all of you] righteousness. Indeed I, of what you do, am Seeing.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “It is better for anyone of you to carry a bundle of wood on his back and sell it than to beg of someone whether he gives him or refuses.”

Yet, mere work is not what is intended by these texts, but rather its perfection; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Allah loves that if one of you does a job he perfects it.” That is why he (PBUH) was always keen on the point that everyone should have a good deed through which he could benefit himself and others “Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Prophet! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” He said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot find even that?” He replied, “He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” He replied, “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” So, he (PBUH) urges those who are unable to work to keep away from doing harm to people, showing that they will be rewarded for it since they have protected people from their evil and harm.

Serving the society, supporting the weak, helping the needy and meeting the needs of the needy are all fields whereon one should show high determination. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ” The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to the people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to feed his hunger. That I walk with a brother regarding a need is more beloved to me than that I seclude myself in this mosque in Medina for a month. Whoever swallows his anger, then Allah will conceal his faults. Whoever suppresses his rage, even though he could fulfill his anger if he wished, then Allah will secure his heart on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever walks with his brother regarding a need until he secures it for him, then Allah the Exalted will make his footing firm across the bridge on the day when the footings are shaken.”

With that said, I ask Allah to forgive me and you

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All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds; I bear witness that there is no god deserved to be worshipped but Allah; I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger;

Muslim brothers,

Serving our country is one of the most sublime fields wherein we should compete with each other, since it is an act of belief. In truth, Allah, Most High, orders us to compete in doing good “so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.” In addition,  Allah, Most High, praises His slaves who race to do good to others, stressing that this will avail them both in this life and the life to come, “Indeed, they used to hasten to good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear, and they were to Us humbly submissive.”

Furthermore, one should show high determination in building countries, shouldering the social responsibility and racing to doing righteous deed including maintaining of mosques, building schools, preparing hospitals and treating the patient, as all of this comes under the category of Al-Sadaqah Al-Jariayh as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “The rewards of the good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are: Knowledge which he taught and spread; a righteous son whom he leaves behind; a copy of the Qur’an that he leaves as a legacy; a mosque that he built; a house that he built for wayfarers; a canal that he dug; or charity that he gave during his lifetime when he was in good health. These deeds will reach him after his death.’

So, it is of cardinal importance to compete with each other in serving the country that protects us and from whose provision we eat, a matter that will not be realized except with solidarity, awareness, showing mercy to each other and helping each other, since it is our country, thus its progress will be realized with us all. Our will, power and determination are not less than those of others; we are the owners of great civilization, originality and history. Yet, we should take into account that realizing precedence requires self-denial and breaking through hardships and difficulties.