We are often asked whether humans, in general, and Muslims in particular, can enjoy a two-way communication with their Lord. Many religions offer this. But Islam is not any religion. It has its basis in Revelation. But, little do people understand, or want to understand.
What leads some people to imagine the possibility of such a thing is that those who have been endowed with a soft spot in their hearts by their Lord, sense, even if quite weakly, some harmony with the timeless and the universal. Women, by default, being endowed with a softer heart, are more prone to such feelings. Consequently, they, men and women, begin to imagine, and even claim, that they are spiritual. Occasionally, feelings associated with the perennial are uppermost in their minds, but much subdued at most other times, or quite absent. Their main concern is with material possessions, and developments related to it.
“I feel very spiritual,” says one of them. But since spiritualism is the opposite of materialism, both being non-accommodative of each other, while they themselves being what they are, day in and day out, ardent materialists, they fail to realize that their materialism denies them any spiritualism. They also fail to recognize that being spiritual is very different from feeling spiritual. They assume spiritualism for spiritual feelings. No human misses the latter in his life, and which, without proper connection with the Divine, is of little, or no, worth. The feeling has been placed as a knocker, to open the drunken eyes, and seek its realization, but which they never attempt, being so busy – overwhelmed, they say, pre-textually – with material existence.
They do not know that, let alone the unimaginable two-way communication with Allah, even one-way communication is not achievable without severe conditions having been met. For example, Prophetic traditions say that a man communicates with his Lord when he is in prayers. That, of course, is not two-way communication, but at least it is one way: Is it not enough that the Lord of the worlds listens to you? Think of it. Who are you after all?
But, does everyone who prays succeed in achieving one-way communication with his Lord? Far from that, one cannot be sure that his prayer is, in the least – communication or no communication – accepted, in some degree or the other, to be rewarded in one degree or the other, in this life and the next. How many devotees are not there who weep in their prostrations but whose prayers are rejected?
Says a hadith: “Whoever gained some wealth through unlawful means, and wore a shirt out of it, will not have his prayers accepted until he gets rid of that shirt.” Can today’s Muslim, any Muslim, claim that his earnings are hundred percent lawful?
Another hadith says, “Whoever went to a fortune-teller and believed in what he said, will not have his prayers accepted for forty days.” Is not the Muslim society of today infested with fortune-tellers, soothsayers, spiritual healers, false Peers and Shuyukh making good money out of those who believe in them? And they are no few. Maybe some people do not physically go to the fortune-tellers, soothsayers, diviners, palmers, star-gazers and others of this class. But do they not believe in things told by them, and not spread their triumphant achievements stories in the society through gossip?
Not to talk of successful communication with Allah, many ahadith pronounce the rejection of prayers for several other conditions not met. One of them says, “Whoever drank wine and was intoxicated, will not have his forty days of prayers accepted. If he died in that state, he will enter the Fire.” Have Muslims begun to drink? Of course, some have. Indeed, some of them run hotels serving wine; and others in the West are surprised when they encounter a teetotaler.
Another hadith speaks of what could prevent a woman’s prayer acceptable, no matter how earnestly she prayed. It says, “Whichever woman went out to the mosque well-perfumed, will not have her prayer accepted until she goes back home and washes herself.” Imagine now, not simply those who attract to themselves with their perfume, but those who go to Taraweeh prayers with faces uncovered, luring the eyes of the young and the old; do they imagine their prayers are rushed up to the heaven?
There is another tradition about women which denies them a kind look from their Lord. It says, “Allah does not look at a woman who is not grateful to her husband, although she cannot do without him.”
While on prayers, one might as well consider the following. The Prophet warned: “Allah does not look at a man’s prayer in which he does not straighten up his back between the deep bow and prostration.” But this is how today’s Muslims pray. They can hardly wait for a breath before they would rush to the next act in their prayers.
People think of Islam as they do any other religion. Islam is vastly tougher, greatly uncompromising. No religion dare reject the devotions of the devotees for any reason. If it did, they would reject that religion. Islam summarily rejects the devotions of the devotees for many reasons.
The Prophet said, “Incumbent upon you is Jihad, listening and obeying (the Amir), and migration (from the land of Kufr). And, he who broke away from the mainstream Muslim, by as much as the width of a bow, will not have his Prayers or fasts accepted. Indeed, they are the fuel of the Fire.”
A common practice of the contemporary Muslims is to devote the hours after sunset until late-night sleeping time as the time of relaxation: a hugely false idea and a greatly sinful practice. It comes directly from the Devil and flies in the face of a tradition reported from the Prophet. The relaxation turns out to be no more than hours before the TV which is dominated by pornographic advertisements, luring the onlookers more than the news reels, or the entertainment programs, which themselves are filled with pornography. In sin the Muslims watch, and in sin they sleep. Islam rejects it forthrightly.
Let alone pornographic images, the Prophet has warned in a hadith that a nightly sit-out in which is recited erotic poetry, or that in praise of wine and women, prevents the acceptance of that night’s prayer. Said the Prophet, “He who recited poetry after night prayers, will not have the prayers of that night accepted from him.” Are the relaxation hours of today after nightfall any better than recitation of erotic poetry by the Jahiliyy Arab circled by his audience in the sands?
Many Sufis, Yogi-type men, shortly-educated Peers, and others whose earnings depend upon themselves posing as spiritual men, confidently spread the notion that a two-way communication is possible with Allah. Actually, when they say that, they mean to include themselves and exclude the rest. (So, one of them invites the Prophet to attend a session led by him, sees him coming, whom he alone can see, when he comes! Rest of the idiots always miss to see him, which is not enough for them to open their eyes to the deceitful person’s deceit). Two-way communication with Allah is simply outrageous. It was reserved for Prophets and Messengers. That will happen no more. That phase in human history is in the unrepeatable past. Presidents of the most murderous nations claim that they have been inspired by God to go on a bombing-spree! It is the Devil who whispers to them.
The inconceivability of two-way communication can be guessed from the explanation that the commentators have offered to verse 105 of Surah al-Nisa’ which says, “Verily, We have sent down the Book to you with the truth so that you might judge between the people by what Allah has shown you.” (4: 105). The commentators have said that the reference is to Prophet Muhammad (saws) alone. He alone judged by what Allah showed him as the undoubtable truth. As regards other mortals, neither can they claim to be “shown (or guided) by Allah” in reference to an affair, nor can they claim to be “certainly right” in their judgment. `Umar said: “Let not one of you say, ‘I did this or that by what Allah showed me (as the right thing do);’ because such a ‘showing’ by Allah was only to his Prophet. As for us, our opinions can both be right as well as wrong.” And when someone told him that he (`Umar) should judge by what “Allah shows him,” (i.e., shows `Umar), he reprimanded him and said that that was the prerogative of Prophet Muhammad (saws).
And here we have, men as tall as mountains in jahal, claiming that a two-way communication is possible with Allah. A step down the ladder of jahal, some claim that what they say, or do, has Allah’s approval, or acceptance. Perched a little higher up on the rungs of jahal-ladder, some claim – and, of course, make some fortune out of it, or earn good respect – that what they say has the Prophet’s approval. Those who believe in them of the masses have no idea that the man claiming such nonsense is at a greater distance from the Prophet than the Andromeda Galaxy is from the earth.
To emphasise the difficulty in establishing one-way communication with Allah, without one submitting himself to Islam unreservedly, without any exception to rules and principles to be observed, throughout life, one might keep a few more of the Prophet’s traditions before him. One of them says that the punishment of violators of the Islamic rules of life is not merely denial of communication with Allah in this world, but, denial of any communication on the Day of Judgment also. One of his narrative goes, “There are three at whom Allah would not look at on the Day of Judgment, nor speak to them, neither purify them, but rather, theirs will be a painful chastisement: A man who swore on (the goodness of) his commodity falsely, saying that he paid more (for his commodity) that the buyer was paying; he who swore falsely in the afternoon (in order to devour another’s property); and he who had extra water but refused it to a traveller.”
A few others will miss to communicate with Allah on a Day when the greatest desire of the hearts would be to hear from Him, and, be granted the Beatific Vision. The Prophet said, “There are three with whom Allah will not speak on the Day of Standing: He who does not give anything, but would mention it as a favour done; he who sells his commodity with the help of a false oath; and he who dragged his trouser (out of pride).”
Another statement of the Prophet is in the same vein. He said, “Dragging the clothes applies to the lower garment as well as to shirts (i.e., too long to impress one’s yogishness), and the turban, letting it down out of pride: Allah will not look at such of them on the Day of Judgment.”
So, a touch of pride, and you are gone out of sight.
Thus, while two-way communication is hair-raising audaciousness; one-way communication goes with conditions that only those who have truly surrendered themselves to their Lord’s will could achieve it. Even communication with the Lord on the Day of Judgment is tied up with a life of virtuousness. But the matter can get worse. Prophetic sayings promise that, let alone the above, some people will be denied even a kind look from their Lord. Said he: “There are three at whom Allah will not look at on the Day of Judgment: He who disobeyed and misbehaved with his parents; a drunkard, and he who gave but reminded of it as a favour.”
How many of the long-bearded, long-tongued devotees of the first row in mosque do the Muslims not boast off, who divide the Ummah in the name of Islam? The Prophet knew the rise of such a class. He said, “Three there are those upon whom Allah will not look at on the Day of Judgment, nor purify them, but rather they shall have a painful chastisement: A man who came to a people (who were on a unified status), then he split their unity, until they began to treat the illegal as legal and shed blood; and a tyrannous ruler.”
Yet there are more of today’s Muslim described by the Hadith than ever in their history. A statement goes in these words: “(If a man) took away another’s property by wrongful means, he will be of those at whom Allah will not look, will not purify him, but rather, he will share a painful punishment.”
There are others who will miss to be noticed on the Day of Judgment. Said the Prophet, “There are three at whom Allah will not look on the Judgment-day: A sexual sinner who fell into it in his old age; a lying leader; and a proud destitute.”
Another report from the Prophet is in the following words: “Three are there at whom Allah will not look at on the Day of Resurrection: He who disobeyed and misbehaved with his parents; he who bore out and authorized evil for his family; and a woman who behaved and imitated the males.”
As if the list is getting too long for tired minds, another of the Prophet’s statement makes it harder that a one-way communication should happen. Indeed, it promises a full-scale fall into the oblivion. He said: “Three there are at whom Allah will not look: A free man who bought a free man; a free man who sold himself (into slavery); and a man who denied the wages of a hired man until his sweat was dry.”
We have said in earlier lines that Islam is a difficult religion. It is made easy only to those who submit. Submit then, first, before you can achieve acceptance of your prayers and devotions. One-way communication might follow – not before.
Learn the basics. Imagining a two-way communication with the Lord is an obscenity that a man could claim in any religious system but the Islamic.