The Fifth Pillar of Islam - 1
by Sheikh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Raheemullahalayh)
Instinct of Love
"And proclaim unto mankind the Pilgrimage (the Hajj). They will come unto thee on foot and also on every lean camel; they will come from every deep ravine that they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention the name of Allah on appointed days over the beast of cattle that He bath bestowed upon them. Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor and the distressed. Then let them make an end of their unkemptness and pay their vows and go around the ancient House (the Ka'aba)." (-xxii : 27-29)
ISLAM is a religion of pure monotheism. It does not admit of any intermediaries or intercessors between man and his Creator. It frowns upon all material and visible objects which might become centres of devotion and to which people paid spiritual homage in one form or another. There is no place in it for an intervening agency, a manifestation, an image or an idol. There is also no priestly class in it nor a tribe of monks or hermits.
And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My Call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. (-ii : 186)
So worship Allah, making religion pure for Him (only). Surely, pure religion is for Allah only. And those who choose protecting friends beside Him (say): We worship them only that they may bring us near unto Allah. (-xxxix : 2-3)
Islam dwells at such a high level of intellectual purity, high-mindedness, honesty of purpose and sincerity of action that it is impossible to conceive of a better ideal or a nobler concept. No other faith or philosophy in the world can compare with it in these respects, nor can anyone improve upon the description given in the Qur’aan or the Uniqueness and Excellence of God.
Naught is His likeness; and He is the Hearer, the Seer (of everything). (-xiii: 11)
Landmarks of Allah
But human nature being what it is, the quest for something within the perceptible phenomenon through which one could seek the satisfaction of the inward impulse of love, adoration and submission has always formed a part of his essential character and personality.
For the fulfilment of this need, God has appointed certain visible and material objects which are consecrated to Him and bear a special relation to His Blessed Name and are held popularly to be His own and upon which there is so much of His Grace that the mere sight of them evokes His remembrance. Besides, with them are associated events, rites and experiences that serve as the portents of Allah, and remind us of His faith and the fortitude and endeavour of His Apostles. He has pleased to give to these objects the name of the Landmarks of Allah, and to proclaim that to pay reverence to them is to pay reverence to Him while to show disrespect to them is to show disrespect to Him. He has permitted, or, rather, invited mankind to gratify its innate urge for love, closeness and observation through them.
That is (the command). And whoso magnifieth the Landmarks of Allah, it surely is from the devotion of the hearts. (-xxii: 32)
That is (the command). And whoso magnifieth the Landmarks of Allah, it will be well for him in the sight or his Lord. (-xxii: 30)
Instinct of Love
Man is neither wholly a rational animal nor is he so helpless as to be obliged to make his submission to any law or authority. He is also not a part in a machine which moves alone, a set course and according to a fixed law. He is mind as well as heart, faith as well as intuition and submission as well as love. It is in the many-sidedness of his personality that lies the secret of his greatness and nobility and it is through it that he has been able to overcome seemingly insuperable obstacles and perform superhuman deeds. What is more, it was on account of this grand peculiarity of his being that he was entrusted with the 'responsibility' the heavens, the earth and the mountains had declined to shoulder and has succeeded in rising to heights that are the envy of the angels.
The bond between man and his Creator is not only of a legal or logical character that may be limited to the payment of dues the observance of laws and the enjoyment of rights. It is also a bond of love and other sublime emotions like those of devotion, tenderness and self-effacement and its scope is so wide that no human thought or deed has remained unaffected by it. Islam does not forbid this love. On the other hand, it calls us to it, encourages it and sustains it.
Says the Quran: Those who believe are stauncher in their love for Allah. (-ii : 165)
Say (O Mohammad): If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your tribe, and the wealth you have acquired, and merchandise for which you fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings ye desire are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allah bringeth His Command to pass. Allah guideth not the wrongdoers. (-ix : 24)
The Qur’aan, while speaking of the Divine Apostles, draws pointed attention to their qualities of love, earnestness and sacrifice. Of Prophet Yahya (John), for instance, it says: ‘And We gave him wisdom when a child. And compassion from Our presence, and purity; and he was devout.’ (-xix: 12-13)
The wonderful episode of Hadhrat Ibrahim (Abraham) is a saga of love and dedication. The Qur’aan specifically mentions how Hadhrat Ibrahim placed the knife on the throat of his son and did not remove it till God had witnessed the depth and intensity of his sincerity, fortitude and sacrifice. ‘We called unto him: O Ibrahim! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision. Lo! Thus do We reward the good. Lo! That verily war a clear test. (-xxvii: 104 - 6)
Again, in the praise of Hadhrat Ibrahim it says: Lo! Ibrahim was mild, imploring, pertinent.’ (-xi:75)