The earliest consciousness of Allah that I can readily remember was when I was about 5 years old. I had a kid sister who was very dear to my heart; she was 3 years old then. On most evenings, our mother would give us a bath and dress us up in fine casual clothing and send us off to our father’s shop, which was about a kilometer away. There, we would remain with him till his closing time by 6:00pm. As the elder brother, I was usually saddled with the responsible for my sister’s safety and well being till we arrived there. She was my good friend and companion. One fateful day, she fell sick and after a while eventually died. I was devastated. My mother, in trying to explain to my young fragile mind what happened told me that God has taken her back to Himself. And that she was much safer and happier there as He is The Best of sustainers and protectors. I could not understand why God should choose to separate us, when were so close, making me so unhappy as a result. I missed her so much that often I would drop a piece of anything good I happen to be eating or drinking and look up to the sky, whispering to Allah, that it was for her.
Not long after this incidence the pains were gone, but the curiosity in me about God has been fully awakened. Who is this Allah? Where is He? How did He create the sun, water, plants, animals, man etc and why? How do people die? Why can’t they talk or move? What happens to them when they are buried, where do they go to? When did He…. What does His… How is He able to…. Who does His…? So, so many questions. “Kai! Kai!! Kai!!! Kalli gabanka mana. Ko kana son ka….?” Someone would scream me back to earth.
When I was 7 old, I was enrolled into elementary school and often while walking down our street to school, I would observe how terribly unlike the fine tarred street and buildings I use to see on television they were and so would wish that God Almighty and Capable would provide me with magical power to cast a spell and transform the neighborhood, town, city, country, Africa and the whole world into one conductive environment. All roads would be tarred with covered gutters, street lights, well nourished families, properly educated children and comfortable homes for all. Another spell to make all poverty, hunger, illiteracy and wretchedness disappear forever. The idea came from watching on television the genie that grants 3 wishes in the Arabian Night. All this I wanted to make happen, so that we could concentrate fully in our acts of worshipping God in peace and tranquility. Free from all wants. Much as I try to evoke such ability, it only made me wish harder. For I was never able to provide for myself alone, much less my family.
I wondered again and again why God should allow so much suffering to exist among mankind. This made me delve deeper in my quest towards unraveling the mysteries of Allah. Though, now I know it is never going to be possible to achieve such knowledge, for He Azza wa Jalla (AWJ) and His Ways are beyond unraveling. And knowing what I know now, it is clear that my young fertile innocent sub-consciousness was being indoctrinated through the television to think that way, for it is contrary to the realities of life. Life as we know it is a series of tests, trials and tribulations, the passing of which raises one in status, both earthically and spiritually till the very end.
I was very fortunate to have met and become friends with some of the best children of my time. Together we had some of the most memorable childhood experiences. I can still remember that we use to admonish ourselves about obeying our parents, respecting elders, being sincere in our childish interactions and fear Allah by observing the 5 daily obligatory prayers. At that time only 2 or 3 of such prayers ever got to be performed by most of us. In certain instances, we would even stop relating or playing with any one among us unless he has performed his salaat. Such young free minds, our main past time was testing our knowledge in the religion by quizzing each other and writing down the score on a sheet of paper. The next encounter was always a challenge for any looser. So we were constantly reading and listening to Islamic preaching.
Another major influence in those days was one of my teachers, who taught us religious knowledge in Primary III. He was so good at relating prophetic history Sira; the class would sit so still, that one can hear the sound of a feather floating through the air as it crashes on the floor with a loud bang. He, may Allah bless him wherever he may be now and reward him with Al-Jannah in the hereafter, was foremost among those who succeeded in impressing upon my heart the love of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Till this day I can still hear his subtle voice clearly in my mind.
Later all grown up and matured, manly and married. I was in the university and my curiosity and consciousness about Allah (God) and universe, man and nature has deepened. Still very much in search of answers to the many elusive questions that usually trouble a young and inquisitive mind. One day or rather night I came home from campus for a weekend. It was unusually hot, so we (I and my spouse) spread a mat in our court yard and lay on our backs next to each other staring at the sky. I was explaining to her that the rays of light reaching our eyes from those stars are not the ones being emitted that particular moment, but ones released some thousands of years earlier, as they would require thousands of years to travel through the many light years separating our worlds before reaching our planet.
She pointed at a bright star as it glows and dims from so far away, then at another that shines continuously without diming and yet still at a tiny, almost invincible one that neither shines nor dims and wondered at the difference. So I had to inform her that some of those stars are natural like the planets in our solar system, but others are man-made satellites, sent into orbit by humans some for space exploration like the Apollo 11 and others for communication, military, weather research purposes etc are revolving round the earth just like the moon.
After a while she challenged me to count the stars, so we commenced till we counted about 50 or more, all the while reminding ourselves if we should count any twice and laughing at the whole joke. Before long we became exhausted, yet there were many more uncounted stars, scattered all over the sky as far as our eyes can see. And I reminded her, yet Allah SWT knows the exact number there are. In fact, there is no leaf on a tree or plant on the surface of the earth or a grain of sand at the bottom of the deepest ocean that He is not aware of. She wowed! We became silent for a while, each in our mind flow. Suddenly, my wife asked “Allah is most gracious, Most merciful and Most Just in His affairs, yet He is going to put some among mankind in paradise, while others He condemns to hell. Now how fair is that? He made someone a Muslim, some Christians, others Jews, yet others Atheist, why? No one was given any choice in the matter; yet, He is going to punish them for being non-believers in His Oneness. Is there justice in that? I rather think it is not right, but Allah knows best and I know nothing. May Allah forgive my sinful soul for entertaining these thoughts”
I could instantly understand her flow of reasoning for she grew up in a Christian dominated area, where they were they were forced to say “The Grace” prayer each morning at their daily school assembly. Fortunately I had an encounter at the university with a learned and wise imam, who enlightened my soul about this particular observation. So I unraveled the mystery to her, seeking Allah’s Assistance towards making her understand His infinite wisdom in the matter. She eventually acknowledged it and her mind became at peace.
Then a few later years later, a practicing consultant working among fellow colleagues in a consultancy firm. One day during one of our regular break discussion, an Engineer observed “Awolowo had died, Sardauna, Zik, Tafawa Balewa, Aminu Kano, Abiola, Abacha, Yar’adua (past Nigerian leaders) have all gone. Yet none of them has taken the trouble to communicate back. Something must be wrong somewhere. If truly they care for this country and their ethnic people, as they were claiming before they died, then they should at least have found a means of sending back a message. In fact I know for sure that something was amiss with this death thing when my father passed-on and refuse to get in touch with me from beyond, for we were so very close.” He lamented. As a contribution I said, “They refused to communicate back or maybe it is beyond their powers to.” To which he said, “Yes! I think it is beyond their control”
With the same Engineer on yet another occasion, he felt slighted and disrespected for not being consulted before he was created and sent to this world? Why was his opinion not sought as to whom he wants to be, when he wants to come to this world and where he wants to be based? So I had to explain to him in the little knowledge (for HE is Al-Alim) that I have, of Allah’s Mysterious Ways, per chance he might gain an insight to free his soul from the shackles of ignorance and satanic whispers.
I solicited for his cooperation in demonstrating a simple example. By given him a pencil and a blank sheet of paper, I requested that he should make some lines freely without measuring or counting them, which he did carelessly and push the paper back at me with disinterest. I told him to look at the strokes he had randomly made, after which I said to him “Assuming you were all alone and out of your own volition drew these lines and that you have the powers to give these lines the ability to speak, how would you react to this particular line…” pointing at a short, crooked one in the row “… questioning why you drew it the way and manner you did?” Before I could finish explaining, he angrily shouted out “How dare it. I swear it cannot try it!” So I pointed out that “Such is the case between you and Allah Azza wa Jallah.” He then remained silent, staring into space, lost in thought, reflecting soberly.
Then it occurred to me that several other individuals the world over must be thinking the same, yet I cannot go on explaining to each person that I encounter, who might be experiencing similar turmoil in his or her mind and therefore the need to commit to writing my explanation became necessary. I seek for Allah’s guidance and forgiveness once again for my mistakes, which are sure to be notice by better and much more endowed servants His in this feeble attempt of mine. It comes in form of this similitude.
Consider a Professor, who is well renowned, the world over. An authority in his profession, with several awards and honours from all the relevant organizations, bodies and institutions of the world. His expertise and sense of judgment at all levels is in no doubt whatsoever. A sound, sincere and brilliant mind without any of bias, who is at the peak of his endeavors. Formulating and confirming theories in his chosen carrier, which have all been tested and proven beyond any reasonable doubt through the most scientific means possible. Simply, he is the Einstein of his field.
Let’s take an example. Art. One day, without consulting or discussing with anyone nor seeking anybody’s assistance, this professor all alone, decides to create some artworks. So he gathers all the material he needed for his masterpiece from source unknown to all and commences the process of creating the said artworks. How many there are, no one knows. What medium he uses is anybody’s guess. Why he creates them, is best known to him. Where he develops the scheme or how long it takes for each to be produced, nobody has an idea. What he intended to do with them, is also a total mystery.
Eventually he finishes the artworks. Each produced deliberately unique in its own right. Each the best that it could ever be. Each in a class of its own, the marvelous masterpiece it was meant to be. Based on his vast knowledge and experience about all aspect of the art world, he sorted the works into classes according to his expectations. Some he knew at an exhibition the kind of critique, comments and attention they would command. Others he knew the amount of money they would be worth at auctions. Still others he knew ahead would be virtually decorative without any financial value and so would be confined to his studio or best given out as souvenirs. Then there are yet others he knows would be completely useless, best fit for the dustbin, eventually fed to the incinerator for they would only bring him shame, displeasure and disgrace. He almost did that, burn them off that is, but out of his fairness and justice, instead of doing just that, he decides further to give each artwork a fair chance at the world, to possibly prove him wrong.
After he finishes the creative works, he calls for an international press conference and informs the world about his accomplishment and declares that they are strictly not for sale, but would be available as borrowed items for a while, for individual collections, for exhibitions, for archives etc, but only for a period of time to the Art World. He also coded each one in such a manner that it cannot be duplicated. The he accompanies their release with some brochures in which he explains everything concerning them and advised whoever wants to know why, when, where and what was his purpose for producing them to read the publications. In the manuscripts, he reveals his original intentions as regards the artworks. However, he kept secret his anticipations about each of the classes.
He states further that he intends to gather all of them back after a certain period, from wherever they might be and with whomever they might, one or two at a time or even in bunches whenever he dims fit. Before then, those fortunate to be in possession of them should enjoy them, while the time last. When he does recall them, some he intends to cherish and so will hang them on the wall in his prestigious chamber. Others would be packed and tied together in a box, never to be seen or heard of again. Yet some he will refurbish and later decorate other areas of his domain with them. And still some he intends to destroy utterly by breaking them into pieces and burning them in his incinerator.
The whole world gasps at the unprecedented beauty of the revealed works. The originality, quality and sheer mastery of each media employed. He presents them according to his classification and those in-the-know without much-a-do spontaneously declares them priceless and him a perfect master, a genius.
Thus understood, the artworks are allowed to circulate across the world, taken into different countries and cities and displayed in diverse art centers. Meanwhile he embedded in each a tracker, to keep records of its entire sojourn. Remember he holds the full ownership of each, with no copyright permits given to any to lay claim on each. Among the pieces he knows would do well at auctions, each performs according to his prediction, bringing in dollar offers to the exact amount but he refuses to sell, keeping all as his sole possession. Various awards and recognitions come through several other artworks as expected. Those that would generate hot arguments and critics failed not to. The ones he anticipated would cause him a lot of annoyance went to the extreme and those that should not have ever been exposed at all were indeed worth the bet. He keeps a record in which all their activities were closely written down. Each piece living up to his expert expectations to the latter.
Finally he starts to recall all the artworks back from every nook and corners of the Art World.
Once again he was back alone with them, as in the beginning without any adviser, associate or helper, at an appointed time and place, his studio. He brought out their journey records and charts, closely referring to each piece according to its performance, thus sorting them out once again into their initial, original categories. Being the guru he is, each turned out to fit precisely his original predictions. He thus smiled at himself and acknowledged his own expertise and authority, justifying his original forecast.
He subsequently executes his intended mission regarding the artworks according to his initial sorting out, comfortable in the knowledge that his actions are now justified after giving each of the artworks the benefit of doubt, the chance to prove his predictions wrong.
Now, the questions; whose idea was it creating the artworks in the first instance? Whose advice did he seek before commencing their production? Did he request for any help or assistance in the process? How long and difficult was the process of creating them? Whose possessions are the end products? Who determine how long the artworks are allowed to be in circulation? How about the sorting out and classifications, what was the basis? And the sources, location as well as type of materials used? What about the formula and mixture proportions employed? Who decides for him the time of recall or which artwork gets the first, joint, collective or last recall?
Also for consideration is the place where he created or gathers them, who scheduled the time and location? Who contributed in designating final placement after the sorting out? What if he changes his mind about any or all of the artworks, who is there to counteract such a decision? Who can know better than him what each of the artwork should be worth or where each deserves to be placed? So ultimately what justification is there for anyone or anything to question the rationale behind his initial and final action as regards his artworks? Endless questions, but one answer would suffice, for there is only one truth and when it manifests, falsehood quickly disappears. End of similitude.
Let us take a quantum leap to another level by effecting a few changes to the characters and conditions in the above similitude. May Al-Mighty Allah forgive our short coming in finding the most befitting approach to this exercise.
The Professor is replaced The Supreme Being, ALLAH, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, only this time there is no other in the realm e.g. partners, equal professors (gods), associates, advisers, assistants, helpers or even observers. Also to be discarded is the “in our own image” idea or visualizing any form, shape or definition for him, but rather His Presence only should be acknowledged. All alone, all over, everywhere and infinitely beyond the wildest and widest imagination, for there is nothing like unto him (Q112:4). He Azza Wa Jallah is total, absolute, perfect in all his decision and actions.
The Artworks are Mankind, you and I, but instead of being framed and dormant on display, we have been endowed with special and unique abilities such as intelligence, free will (Q18:29), choices, motion, speech, sight etc with which we are able to express ourselves individually and collectively.
Our Creator (Allah) knows (Q20:110) at the point of bringing mankind into existence that some, if He commands them to associate no partners with Him and to worship none other but Him alone, if He commands them to obey His messengers, live by His rules and regulations, struggle with their lives and wealth for His cause, seek for His pleasure by trusting in Him or even ultimately sacrificing their souls for Him in return for that which is better, would obey willingly and submissively without the slightest hesitation (Q35:32). While others would carry out parts of a command and neglect other parts or would choose to obey some command and ignore others, aiming to please their patrons (Q3:100). Still others would mischievously pretend not to understand the instructions at all, thereby refusing to comply.
Then there are those will just laugh at such commands (Q37:187), even mock at them (Q36:30) or kill the couriers of such messages (Q47:187) and make their utmost attempt to prevent His willing and obedient servants from executing their obligations (Q13:99) and often they would even go all the way towards changing or destroying his revelations and promoting all nauseous vices i.e. shirk, usury, homosexuality etc (Q29:29) to His utter displeasure, as well as going to the extreme by campaigning for total disregard of His existence (Atheists) Q11:92.
How fair and just would it be for those different classes among mankind (artworks) to be treated and rewarded equally after the recall by the Most Just God, Al-Adl? Q28:61
The Art World is planet earth, with all the God-made natural recourses found within (animals, plants, water, mineral deposits, gravity etc) and heavenly ones found without (atmosphere, sun, moon, stars etc) necessary for the survival and wells being of mankind to explore, expose and exploit, thereby achieving his (un)limited potentials within his specified time frame on earth.
The Brochures at the press conference are the divine revelations and inspirations [Az-Zab’r (Psalm), At-Taurat (Old Testament), Al-Injeel (Gospel) and Al-Qur’an (Koran) etc among others) Q29:27. These holy books are the key to understanding the purpose of creation and for each generation and time according to man’s level of advancement and understanding, appropriate messages are inspired by Allah into their prophets and messengers (20:123). The original scripts all contains one divine message for mankind and that is La ilaha Illallah (None is worthy of worship but Allah Alone). With the revelation of the Qur’an through the Seal of all prophet, Muhammad (PBUH) no more divine scriptures or prophet is going to manifest, the Qur’an being the final message from God to man.
Though revealed over 1430 years ago, its universal message has stood, is standing, will stand the test of time till the ultimate recall. It confirms the truth about earlier revelations, warns against disbelief in the oneness of Allah (Kufr), gives glad tidings to sincere worshippers of The One, True, Living and Eternal God (Allah), challenges the doubtful in its authentic divine source, provides the criteria for knowing right and wrong conducts by Allah’s standards and informs about things known and unknown among others. It is a religious, social, artistic, historical, mathematical, scientific masterpiece. It treats the past, present and future of mankind in details, for those who are endowed with understanding and wisdom. By all standards, it indeed worthy of its unique title of Ummil Al-Kitab (Mother of all Books).
Available only for a period of time, as stated above means our journey through this earthly life (Q6:2) some among mankind would travel all over the world, to the deepest part of the ocean and even into space, while some would not even venture beyond their villages/countries. However, others would have a fairly good life, exhibiting their talents in science, technology, commerce, arts, sport, academia etc, becoming rich and famous in the process, getting so engrossed with celebration of life as to forget the purpose of their existence, thus their mission in this worldly journey. Then all of a sudden their circulation time runs out, the recall takes effect and the person cease to exist. Their sojourn fully documented. Q36:12
The Recall is death (Q23:15). The soul (nafs) is removed from its container (human body) and kept in a place called Barzakh (Q2:100) with a barrier in between, separating the two realms, which prevents it (soul) from ever communicating with those on earth, and the body, which hitherto was so pampered, begins to deteriorate rapidly, becoming a thing avoided and unwanted. For some they would live in peaceful bliss, while for others would be in perpetual turmoil, till the sorting out.
The Sorting Out (Q77:13) is the Final Judgment. Here all records (Q78:29) will be presented on each individual’s dwelling period on earth and proofs of what each soul deserve would be established beyond both reasonable and “unreasonable” doubt, (Q81:10), so that nobody would be unfairly recompensed (Q36:54). Mankind would be sorted into our classes, based on the result from their individual records.
Finally, each class would be rewarded according to Allah’s Promise and would subsequently be directed toward its final destination (Q22:18). Some would receive the highest and ultimate reward Al-Jannah i.e. Paradise (Q11:108). Others would be held off temporarily before they are allowed to proceed. (Q11:107) Yet others would be sent to Hell for an appointed term (Q78:21-30). But for others, alas, they would dwell therein forever: a permanent abode, may Allah forbid. To each party, a befitting recompense for their souls’ earning, and never will anyone be treated with injustice (Q29:18).
Based on the foregoing, it is crucial once again to ask “What right has anybody or anything to challenge Allah’s Wisdom and absolute Supreme Power over His creations?” For if any amongst His creations (mankind) desire to be cherished, now, this earthly life is the only chance available for him or her to earn it, before the recall. The free will to choose is ours.
And be afraid of the day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he/she earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly. (Q2:281)
All this might seem like a fairy tale, a bit farfetched, tales of people of ancient times to some if not many of mankind, but what if it turns out to be true and you find yourself standing alone before Allah, completely unprepared, without any tangible excuse as a defense?
Remember, Allah stated in the Injeel (Gospel) and further confirmed it in the Qur’an that Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary) was created through a miraculous birth, without a father. Some people denied this truth, declaring that you need 46 chromosomes (23 from a female, 23 from a male) to produce a human embryo “Impossible!” they arrogantly cling to their inadequate knowledge. Yet “Behold, Dolly!” the sheep that was given birth to from a single cell extract of her mother, without a male contributor (i.e. father) through one of the recent scientific discoveries at the dawn of the 21st Century called Cloning, no doubt a confirmation of Allah’s Sign (Ayah).
Soon will We show them Our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth) and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this (Qur’an) is the truth (from the Lord the worlds). Is it not enough that the Lord doth Witness all things? (Q41:54)
If people, some 2000 years ago were told that man would be able to penetrate into the heavens with so much ease and even land on the moon one day (Q55:33), there are some that are sure to say “Asadiirul awwaleen” (Tales of the ancient) as usual. What about today? Now many are being told of the Hereafter, and what do they say? “This is nothing but tales of the ancient.” As it was then, so it is now!
But it is not too late, yet. Please take heed, before it becomes too late.
Please permit me to present Muhammad Auwalu Tsakuwa’s poem, a beggar boy who stood before me and recited this beautiful Hausa reminder:
Ran da za ai rabon takardu
Du halllita za ta sadu
Wajen hukunci harda shaidu
Ga Raqibu zuwa Atidu
Wanda ba za su yi sabon ubangiji ba
In aiyukanmu irin na kirki
Wanda za ai ko da a daki
Sun rubuta ko tafarki
“Masu bin umarni daki daki”
Goma dai ne za su nuna
“Ba” su boye tara in da kauna
On The Day, results will be distributed
All creations, will be gathered
At the Judgment, with the witnesses
Angels Raqib and Atid, in attendance
Who never disobey, their Lord’s Commands
If our works are of good kind
With ones committed even in seclusion
They record them plus our intensions
Following instructions by the detail
Ten is it, they will present forthwith
Nor will they hide nine, even of a loved one
With this little effort, it hopes by Allah’s Kindness and Assistance that similar troubled minds on the subject, Muslims and Non-Muslims the world over, would gain a small insight, find some solace and be at peace (Islam) with themselves and their One and Only True, Just Lord (Allah), about His Promise Final Day.
Surely Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or less or a small ant), but if there is any good (done), He doubles it, and gives from Him (SWT) a great reward. (Q4:40)
We are all struggling to survive, only to die - Tijjani Muhammad Musa