Seizing the opportunity
By: Allama Husayn Ansariyan
Seizing opportunities, especially the opportunity of old and time, is one of the certain orders of Allah, His Prophets, the infallible Imams and the saints. In the opportunity of this life, man can replace his bad deeds with good deeds and his vices with good aspects and morals and then the divine light will shine inside his dark soul. If one ignores and loses this opportunity and does not do a positive action in its time and then the moment of death comes and the lamp of his life is about to go out, there will be no chance for repenting and regretting will be useless then.
When Talha was shot by the arrow of Marwan bin al-Hakam in the battle of al-Jamal and he fell down and the moment of his death came, he said, “I have not seen a death of an old man more wasted than mine today29.”
This great regret did not benefit Talha at that moment when the opportunity of his age passed away and the lamp of his life went out. Talha was the first one who had paid homage to Imam Ali (as) but when Imam Ali (as) did not respond to his illegal requests and when the words and stimulations of Mo’awiya affected him, he broke his homage and so he lost this life and the afterlife.
The wife of Prophet Noah and the wife of Prophet Lot betrayed their husbands. They insisted on their disbelief and deviation and kept on that until they lost the last moment of their lives and so they deserved torment in this life and the afterlife.
But as for Asiya the wife of the Pharaoh, she seized the opportunity and preferred the truth and the will of Allah to the will of her husband and therefore she got the contentment of Allah and the eternal bliss.
Khadeeja, the Prophet’s wife, also seized the opportunity and devoted herself to serve the Prophet (S) and she got the happiness of this life and afterlife. Her relatives had cut their relations with her bec au se of her marriage to the Prophet (S) but she strengthened her relation with the Prophet (S) and got the great victory.
Al-Hurr bin Yazeed ar-Riyahi seized the little opportunity remaining in his life and got in return honor in this life and the eternal bliss in the afterlife.
Yes! whoever seizes the opportunity whatever little it is, the divine light will shine inside him and save him from what he has been in.
Here we should say that when the light of guidance overcomes the one who follows the path of the Truth, it makes him lose all his senses; he will not hear with his ear except the divine tone and the speech of Allah, will not taste with his tongue any ill-gotten or unlawful food and will not see with his eyes save the facts and realities in the world of existence. A religious scholar sees the Truth by the light of the inner guidance before seeing it by the material light that reflects from things. He associates with the Truth by the divine light and by this very light he sees the greatness of the world of existence and its association with the greatness of the Creator then by the material light he sees the parts of the world of existence. The follower of the path of the Truth looks at life in away different from the way in which the other creatures look at it just to get desires and pleasures and in the end they regret and cry out: woe unto us! Nothing has remained to us to make use of in our afterlife and there will be no hope after that!
The one, who has the light of gu idance and who understands the meaning of the light of life that is connected with the great world of existence, looks at the exalted aims in life with divine sight and he will not be satisfied with the limited knowledge of the pheno mena of life but he goes into the depth of existence to discover the sec rets of life and he lives with this piercing sight throughout his life.
This sacred sight makes one remember Allah and glorify Him continuously that it can be said that he does not ignore the mention of Allah even for one moment.
Can a knowing and discerning man, who understands the importance of his existence, ignore himself and his existence and live in inadvertence to what there is around him? The meaning of being inadvertent tooneself equals the defect in one’s personality as much as that inadvertence.
The moral beauty and purifying the soul from vices “Your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself, (so) that if any one of you does evil in ignorance, then turns after that and acts aright, then He is Forgiving, Merciful.” Qur’an 6:54
What is meant by “beauty and ugliness “is the inner, moral and practical beauty and ugliness.
One, who writes with the pen of will and option on the page of his conscience and mind the truth and the divine knowledge, which are considered as the moral aspects, and draws their practical applications, which are the divine verdicts, on the page of his inward and outward and adorns this writing and drawing with the brightness of faith and keeps them safe from sins and vices, will have a very beautiful course of life and a moral image fitting the dignity of humanity.
The divine facts and good morals are the manifestations of the divine attributes and aspects and the practical applications are the manifestations of the divine will. Hence writing and drawing these things appear in the life and mien of man as they have appeared in the life of Yousuf (Prophet Joseph) in the kingdom of Egy pt where he has become the beloved of both; those who sought the worldly life and those who sought the afterlife.
But as for one, who writes on the pa ge of his existence with the pen of will and option the aspects of pride, selfishness, ignorance, indifference, bad morals and vices and keeps on this and then the nature of sin and disobedience roots deeply in him, he exposes himself to the great loss and the eternal perishment and so the ugly darkness inside him will appear on his inward and outward and his conducts will be full of sins, vices and bad deeds.
Bad morals and vices are the reflections of the doings of Iblis and his satanic actions and conducts. Therefore, writing and drawing these aspects will appear and reflect on the mien of man and hence this man will be a devil in a shape of a human being. Such a human being will be afflicted with the wrath of Allah and His curse and the curse of the angels and the good people and will be thrown into the disgraceful to rment in this life and the afterlife.
Concerning the moral beauty and ugliness it is necessary to review the Qur’anic verses and the traditions of the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams (as) so that we become acquainted with the divine facts and knowledge more and adorn our existence and Hearts with them and purify our inwards and outwards with the pure water of repentance as Allah has said, “And when those who believe in Our communications come to you, say: Peace be on you, your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself, (so) that if any one of you does evil in ignorance, then turns after that and acts aright, then He is Forgiving, Merciful.” Qur'an, 6:54
People of guidance and success
Allah has said, “Those who believe in the unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them, and who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and they are sure of the hereafter. These are on a right course from their Lord and these it is that shall be successful.” Qur'an, 2:3-5
According to these verses, it is understood that the people of guidance and success are the ones who have these qualities:
1. Believing in the unseen
2. Offering prayers
3. Giving zakat and other financial dues
4. Believing in the Qur’an and the other divine Books
5. Believing in the afterlife
Believing in the unseen
The “unseen” refers to some matters that are beyond the human senses and because these senses cannot perceive these things so they are called “unseen”.
The unseen is the facts that can be seen and perceived by the eye of the heart and mind. The proofs of the unseen are Allah the Almighty, the angels, the barzakh (the partition between death and the day of resurrection), the day of resurrection, the punishment, the scale, paradise and hell. They are the facts that have been indicated by the Prophets, the divine books and the infallible Imams.
Believing in these facts causes purification of the inners, the soul and the self, psychological comfort, tranquility of Heart and submissiveness of the organs to the orders of Allah, the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams (as).
Believing in the unseen is the sign of piety, the cause of justice in man and the reason behind the good abilities and qualities and it is the motive that leads man towards perfection which makes man fit to be the guardian of Allah in the earth.
The Book of Allah, the holy Qur’an, is the best of speech, the most truthful saying and the wisest preaches. There is no doubt about its source and revelation where the Qur'an itself has proved with different evidences that it has been revealed by Allah the Almighty. In some verses we find that the Qur’an has offered the matter of the unseen with all its proofs and then the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams (as) have confirmed it through many traditions which are considered as a great collection of divine knowledge leading to certainty and the believing in the unseen.
Allah the Almighty
The holy Qur’an tells that Allah the Almighty is the Creator of this universe and the world of existence and it invites all the human beings to worship the Creator, not to associate a partner with Him and to deny any equal to Him. Associating a partner with Him or thinking that there is an equal (or equals) to Him is due to inadvertence, ignorance and denying the truth. He, who associates a partner with Allah, commits something opposite to his conscience and nature.
The holy Qur’an invites man to think in the right way and to use reason to prove with the natural, rational and practical evidences the relation between man and his Creator and to deny any idea or opinion that people have showing that other factors may have a role in creating this world such as saying (things have existed or have been available by themselves). Such statements are vain, having no evidence and far away from reason.
In short, it is possible through the holy verses to cure the diseases of inad vertence and ignorance of man and to uncover the screen of illusion, imagination, suspicion and hesitation. It is possible to wake up man’s nature and conscience and then the screen of inadvertence can be dispelled from above man’s heart, mind and nature to see the signs of Allah and His clear evidences and then to follow the truth.
The matter of monotheism and the existence of Allah is clearer than the sun in the midday.
“Is there doubt about Allah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth? He invites you to forgive you your faults” Qur'an, 14:10
“O People! serve your Lord Who created you and those before you so that you may guard (against evil), Who made the earth aresting place for you and the heaven a canopy and (Who) sends down rain from the cloud then brings forth with it subsistence for you of the fruits; therefore do not set up rivals to Allah while you know.” Qur'an, 2:21-22
Yes! The holy Qur’an has invited people as it has invited their ancestors to ponder on the Creator of the heavens and the earth Who has built these great heavens and evened the earth for the living of man and brought down ra in from the heaven to make different trees and plants fruit. If these wonderful creatures have not been created by Him, then who has created them?!
If you say that the cause of these wonderful creatures was chance, then what is your rational and logical evidence on that? If you say that these things have arisen by themselves, so if they have not existed before and then they brought themselves into being then how could no nexistence create something? Besides that if these things have been existed, it is nonsense to say that they have created themselves. H ence, it is understood that there is an organizer who is knowing, omnipotent and wise called Allah the Almighty Who has created all the creatures and constructed this exact and firm system. Man must obey this Creator, submit to His orders and worship Him until he reaches the top of perfection, piety and virtue. Allah has said, “O people! serve your Lord Who created you and those before you so that you may guard (against evil).” Qur'an, 2:21
Al-Mufadhdhal bin Umar al-Kufi narrated that Imam as-Sadiq (as) had said, “O Mufadhdhal, the first lesson and evidence showing the existence of the Creator is preparing this world, composing its parts and adjusting them as they are. If you ponder on the world with your intellect and consider it with your mind, you will find it as a house that is provided with all what the created beings need; the sky is raised like a roof, the land is extended like a rug, the stars are arranged like lamps, jewels are stored as supplies, everything is prepared to its own affair, man has been made the owner of that house and authorized over all what there is in it, different kinds of plants are prepared for the sake of man and different a nimals are all-set for the advantage of man. This is a clear evidence that the world has been created with count and wisdom, order and harmony and the creator is one and only. It is He who has composed and arranged it (the world) part by part, glory be to Him”
Al-Mufadhdhal said, “Three days later I went early to my master (Imam as-Sadiq). I asked permission and came in to him. He seated me and then said, “Now I start with mentioning the sun, the moon and the stars. Think about the color of the sky and the wisdom behind it. This color is the best one to agree with sight and to strength it. O Mufadhdhal, think about the rise and the set of the sun that set up the kingdom of the day and the night. If there is no sunrise, all the world will be in vain for people will not toil after their livings and they will not enjoy their lives without the pleasure of light. The sunshine is self-evident and it is in no need of details. Ponder on the sunset! If the sun does not set, people will have no tranquility or ease. They are in a great need of tranquility and rest. Their bodies and senses have to rest and the power of digestion should act to distribute food to the organs. Besides that greediness prompts people to keep on working that may harm their bodies seriously for many people, if the darkness of the night does not come, will not stop working just to collect and save monies. Moreover, the earth becomes warm by the light of the sun and then it warms everything of animals and plants on it. Allah has ordained with His wisdom that the sun rises for a period and sets for a period as a lamp that is lit to the people of a house to carry out their needs and then it is put out so that they get rest. Light and darkness, in spite of their contradiction, are submissive to advantage and maintain the world.
Then ponder on the going high and the coming down of the sun to make the four seasons of the year and the advantages in this! O Mufadhdhal, think of the length of the day and the night how they have been determined for the goodness of the creatures! Each of them does not exceed fifteen hours. Do you not think that if the day is one hundred or two hundred hours, it will harm all what is there on the earth of animals and plants? The beasts will not still, the cattle will not stop grazing as long as the light of the day is there and man will not cease working and moving and this will destroy them all. As for plants they will dry and burn if the heat of the sun lasts long. And also if the night lasts for a long period, it will prevent many kinds of animals from getting their food until they die of hunger and when the plants miss the natural heat, they decay as you see when there is a plant in the shadow and away from the sunlight. In the winter, heat circulates in the plants and the materials of fruits are generated, the vapor condenses to cause clouds and rains and the bodies of the animals become tight. In the spring, the materials (in the plants) that have been generated in the winter grow and appear and copulating animals become excited. In the summer the air becomes hot and the fruits ripen, the extra material sin the bodies dissolve and the face of the earth dries and becomes ready to building and working. In the autumn the air becomes pure, diseases disappear, the bodies become healthy, the night lasts longer so that some works can be achieved in it and the weather becomes nice to cause many other advantages where mentioning them take much time.
Think about the sunshine over the world how it is arranged! If the sun shines just over a certain place, its rays and advantages will not reach many other sides. The sun shines in the east at the beginning of the day then it turns and turns until it reaches the west to shine over what has been hidden from it at the beginning of the day and sono place will remain without getting its share of advantage. If the sun delays for a year or some of a year then how will people be? or is it possible for them to live then?
Think of the light in the darkness of the night! Although the darkness of the night is needed for the tranquility of man and animals and to cool the air for the plants, it is not fit to make the night totally dark without a bit of light that no activity can be achieved because people may need to work at night because of their limited time during the day or because of hot; therefore the light of the moon can help people with their livings if they need to work at night besides that the light of the moon can guide the travelers in the night.
O Mufadhdhal, think about the stars and their movements! Some of them do not leave the center of their orbit and do not move except together and some are free moving in the zodiacs and differing in their moments. Each one has two different movements; one is general with the orbit towards the west and the other is special to itself towards the east like the two circular stones of the quern. Ask those, who claim that the stars have come to existence by accident or chance without a will or a maker, that what prevent them all to be still or all of them to move! How can accident or chance create two different movements in accurate measures and accounts?
If the sun, the moon and the stars are near to us so that we can see the speeds of their movements, will they not harm our eyes with their rays and flames? It is as what happens when successive light ening light in the sky and as if when some people are in a dome adorned with lamps rotating around them continuously, then their eyes will be confused until they fall on their faces30.”
Once a Bedouin came to the Prophet (S) and said to him, “O messenger of Allah, teach me some of the wonders of knowledge.” The Prophet (S) said, “What have you benefited from the head of knowledge so that you are asking about its wonders?!” The man asked, “O messenger of Allah, what is the head of knowledge? “The Prophet (S) said, “Knowing Allah as He is.” The Bedouin asked, “What is knowing Allah as He is?” The Prophet (S) said, “You know Him without likeness or arival and He is one and only, apparent and hidden, the first and the last and having no equal or comparative. This is knowing Him as He is31.”
Throughout the holy Qur’an we find that there is a fixed and eternal fact representing the origin of the world; it is the fact of “the creator” which is considered as unseen to the human senses. All the created things are mortal but that fact remains forever and all the created things have beginnings and ends but that fact is eternal.
In all the suras and verses of the Qur’an we find that this fact is called “Allah” the Almighty. It has been repeated too much in the Qur’an and all the events and creatures are ascribed to Him.
We find when noticing the worlds and the creatures that all the creatures form a little world following one system. If we notice all the dimensions of this wide world as possible as we can make use of the human sciences and different scientific tools such as great observatories and accurate telescopes, we will find but accurate systems and lawseven in the very minute world like the at om. If we can divide this great world into parts until we reach the small atoms, we will find that their laws are not less than the laws controlling the big world in spite of the differences between the creatures in the appearance and the essence.
In short, all the world forms one entity controlled by a continuous system and all its parts, though different, submit to that same system.
“And the faces shall be humbled before the Living, the Self-subsistent Allah, and he who bears iniquity is indeed a failure.” Qur'an, 20:111
Out of this we arrive at that the creator of this universe and the manager of this wonderful and astonishing system is one: “And your Allah is one Allah! there is no god but He; He is the Beneficent, the Merciful.” Qur'an, 2:163
The holy Qur’an has mentioned the angels in ninety verses. The Qur’an considers the angels as enemies to the disbelievers and one, who disbelieves in the angels, as deviate and away from the Truth.
“Whoever is the enemy of Allah and His angels and His messengers and Gabriel and Michael, so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers.” Qur'an, 2:98
“And whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His messengers and the last day, he indeedstrays off into aremote error.” Qur'an, 4:136
We notice in the first speech of Nahjol Balagha three matters about the angels: the first about the activities and worships of the angels; prostration, rukou32”, standing to gether in rows when offering their worships, glorifying Allah, Gabriel the guardian of revelation and the correspondent of the prophets, the activities concerning the matter of the divine fate, guarding the people, guarding the gates of paradise and hell.
The second matter is about the existence of the angels such as their being in every point in the heavens and the earth.
The third matter is about the a spects of the angels: they do not feel tired, do not sleep, do not forget or become inattentive, do not ascribe the aspects of the creatures to Allah, do not limit Allah to the limits of place and do not refer to Him with alike or an equal33.
The angels are among the proofs of the unseen in this world. The holy Qur’an and the Prophet ic traditions have shown their states and conditions. The angels have a vit al connection with the life of man especially in recording the deeds of people, saving their good and bad sayings and situations, being res ponsible for taking out the souls of people at death and res po nsible for torturing the disbeliveers; therefore believing in them has positive effects on the life of man. Believing in these divine beings and soldiers of Allah gives to the soul and the inward of man special moral beauty.
29. Al-Jamal by Sheikh al-Mufeed, p.385.
30. Biharul Anwar, vol. 3 p.57.
31. At-Tawheed by as-Sadooq, p.248.
32. Rukou’ is Bowing during prayers as a sign of submission to Allah. It is a main part in prayers.
33. Sharh Nahjol Balagha by al-Ja’fari, vol.2 p.123.