April 29, 2007
Four Stepping Stones to A Healthy Mind, Body and Soul
The first step in this direction means that the idea which should hold supreme in the mind and heart of a man is that God alone is his Master, Sovereign, and Deity; seeking His Pleasure is the aim of all his endeavours; and His Commands alone constitute the law of his life. This should be firm conviction, not merely cognition of the intellect, but also of the will.
The stronger and deeper this conviction, the more profound the faith will be, and it will enable man to tread the path of spiritual development with patience and steadfastness, facing all vicissitudes firmly and squarely.
The second stage means that a man divests himself of his independence all together, and accepts subservience to God in practice after having proclaimed faith in Him as his creed. The subservience is called Islam (obedience) in the language of the Qur’an. Thus, it means that man should not only acknowledge God as his Lord and Sovereign but should actually submit before Him and fashion his entire life in obedience to his Lord
The third stage consists of practical manifestation of the faith in God in the mode of daily life. Taqwa (piety) also consists in desisting from everything which God has forbidden or even that which he disapproves even slightly, in a readiness to undertake all that God has commanded and in observing the distinction between lawful and unlawful, right and wrong, and good and bad universally!
The last and highest stage is that which signifies that man has identified his will with the Will of God and has brought it, at least as far as he is concerned, completely in tuned with the Divine Will, with the result that he has begun to like what is liked by the Lord, and abhor what is disapproved by Him.
Man should then, not only himself avoid the evils which God does not like to spread on His earth but should use all his power and energy to wipe them off the face of the earth; and he should not merely rest content with adoring himself with the virtues which God desires to flourish, but should also strive to establish and propagate them in the world even at the cost of his life. A man who reaches this state attains the highest pinnacle of spirituality and is nearest to God.
This path of spiritual development is not meant for individuals only but for the communities and nations as well. Like individuals, communities also, after passing through the various stages of spiritual elevation, may reach the ultimate stage of Ihsan ( benediction), and a state with all its administrative machinery may become Mu’min (faithful), Muslim (obedient), Muttaqi (pious) and Muhsim (beneficient).
IN fact, the ideals aimed by Islam are achieved in a perfect manner only when the whole community moves on this path and a Muttaqi and Muhsin (pious and beneficient) state comes into existence in the world.
That is the acme of civilization where virtue reigns in society and vice is subdued.