"And of them are some who listen unto thee. But canst thou make the deaf to hear even though they apprehend not? (42)And of them is he who looketh toward thee. But canst thou guide the blind even though they see not? (43) Lo! Allah wrongeth not mankind in aught; but mankind wrong themselves. (44) And on the day when He shall gather them together, (when it will seem) as though they had tarried but an hour of the day, recognising one another, those will verily have perished who denied the meeting with Allah and were not guided. (45) "
Surah Yunus [ Jonah ] , 10 :42-45
Faith is a gift. A precious gift.
All of us have gone through this phase of sadness in life having to see close friends and relatives who are OK in all aspect except... faith or the lack of it. How tragic.
But this tragedy is not just confined to us mere mortals. Remember even Adam had his Abel and Cain. Noah, despite more than 900 years of preaching, could not persuade his wife and family to join him in faith. Abraham, failed with his father.Abraham's cousin brother, Lot was a total failure with respect to his wife.Even Muhammad could not persuade his 'almost perfect' uncle, Abu Thalib, on his death bed!
So who are we to feel so tragic about our inability to bring 'faith'?
We can try but at the end of the day, Faith is truly a gift from Allah.
On the bright side consider one Leopold Weiss in 'Godless Europe' of 1920's. How a short stint as a journalist in the Middle East, and an indistinct short surah in the Noble Quran, and a very short 'cerebral enlightenment' interwined and forever changed his entire life:
"You are obsessed by greed for more and more
Until you go down to your graves
Nay ,but you will come to know.
Nay ,but you will come to know !
Nay ,if you but only knew it with the knowledge of certainty
You would indeed see the hell that you are in .
In time ,indeed you will see it with the eye of certainty .
On that day you will be asked what you have done with the boon of life ".
Surah 102, from The Glorious Quran
Leopold Weiss was travelling with his wife ,Elsa ,in September 1926 ,in a Berlin subway when he noted a well dressed business man ,with a beautiful suitcase on his kness and a large diamond ring on his hand .It was an upper-class compartment .
" But when I looked at his face ,I did not seem to be looking at a happy face .He appeared to be worried :but not merely worried but acutely unhappy ,with eyes staring vacantly in space and the corners of his mouth drawn in as if in pain -but not in bodily pain...Then I began to look around at all the other faces in the compartment-faces belonging without exception to well dressed ,well fed people :and in almost every one of them I could discern an expression of hidden suffering ,so hidden that the owner of the face seemed to be quite unaware of it "
Shocked by the transformation of a routine train ride into a moral vision ,he shared this experience with his wife ,Elsa .She also looked around with new eyes ,and said ," You are right .They all look as though they were suffering torments of hell...I wonder ,do they know themselves what is going on in them ?".When Leopold returned home ,he chanced upon his copy of The Glorious Quran which has fallen open on the 102nd chapter .The rest was history .
Leopold Weiss went on to become Europe's most famous convert to Islam ,Muhammad Asad .He found in the Quran a voice that addressed the particular obsession of his age [ which is still the obsession at this present 'age' ,despite our intellectuals' pretension to be not just 'post modern' but also 'post contemporary'].
Faith , my friend, is a gift from Allah. A most precious gift. Let us nurture and appreciate this gift.
Dr Nik Howk