Sunday, February 08, 2004

Taken from Window on Islam radio show transcript of an interview with Imam Hamza Yusuf. Some of the words, grammer might not make sense because it's written down almost exactly as br Faisal and Imam Hamza said it.

We’re just about out of time, I was wondering if I could ask one last question. How is that we can actually follow in the footsteps of the earlier Muslims and yet avoid mistakes that you just mentioned that many of the Umayyads and the later generations fell into? How can we really recapture that originally spirit that the people around the Prophet peace be upon him had?

Imam Hamza:
Well I think, I think that Islam, that there is an individual aspect of Islam, there’s my Islam, as an individual, trying to implement in my life the ideals of Islam and using my life as an opportunity to improve my state of submission. And that takes; this is a lifetime of work. And this is, each day of our life is an opportunity to improve our state and to improve our understanding of the world. And its not easy it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of thought, and it takes also, usually good company of people that will help one, and it takes a brutal honesty as well, of looking at our, at ourselves and trying to get closer to these ideals. I mean the Quran is very clear in that it says you have in the messenger of God, you have an excellent example and so learning about his life: He was the most forbearing of people, he was the most clement of people, he was the most forgiving of people, he constantly smiled. It, that it was his nature to smile.

And If you look out there, just smiling is something that could really help alleviate… people that smile all the time now are, are seen almost as fools. Something’s wrong with them, and there’s just so much ingratitude. So I think that gratitude and, and just being filled with a state of gratitude is something that all of us should be working on.

The Quran says that the devil when he said in the Quran that he will come to the servants of God, meaning creation, all of humanity, from in front of them, and behind them, and to the right of them, and to the left of them, and then he said and you will not find very many grateful ones amongst them.

That gratitude was really what he was trying to remove from Bani Adam or the children of Adam

And so gratitude according to Ibn ‘Atthoylah is the quickest way to really being in a healthy state, of being in a state of gratitude. And so I think just syukr and this idea of really feeling grateful and reflecting and recently there was a beautiful study done at Davis by a social scientist on gratitude, in which they took people over long periods of time who tended to be depressed and negative people and they would have them think every morning what they would start their day by; actually going over those things that they have reason to be grateful for.

And over time their mental states changed drastically, and its very interesting study because it was done with a very strong control group and done in a traditional social science, using their methodology and it affected these people’s states. And so just feeling that gratitude and thankfulness is something that, and this was the hallmark of traditional societies. Even this country traditionally it was rooted in the sense of feeling grateful and feeling the blessings that, that we have been given.

I think that is something that Muslims really need to focus on is, because if you look out there at all these negative stuff you’ll just start feeling miserable, and if you forget that in spite of it all there is so much to be grateful for.

If you’re in a wheelchair, you know, the fact that you’ve got your hands is reason to be grateful. I mean there’s always, and this is what Ibn Abbas, cousin of the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam, and one of his companions, he said, that any tribulation that you have, if you examine it you will always find that there’s reasons to feel grateful and he gave three immediately:
- that if it was in this world, that that alone is a reason to feel grateful, because that it wasn’t in the next world. Because the calamity in the next world is much greater than anything in this world
- that if it was in your worldly affairs, in other words, material affairs and not in your spiritual affairs that was reason to be grateful and that that it could have been worse,
- that whatever affliction in this life it still could have been worse. And that is also reason to be grateful So even in the midst of tribulation there is reason to feel grateful.

And, and the Quran clearly states, “lain shakartum laazidannakum”, that if you show gratitude then God will increase you in that feeling of gratitude. In other words, He’ll give you more reasons to feel grateful. So, that is a law, that is a law of cause and effect according to Muslim belief, that if you actually display gratitude, you will find more and more reasons to feel grateful and if you display ingratitude, conversely, you will find more and more reasons to feel ungrateful and that‘s the way the universe works.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home