Means of Attainment
|[CONTENTS]||We are now in a position to
answer the second part of the question: how this object can possibly be attained?
The first means towards the attainment of this end is that, in the recognitaion of the Lord, a man should tred upon the right path and have his faith in the true and living God. The goal can never be reached by the man who takes the first step in the wrong direction and looks upon some stone or creature or element of nature as his diety. The True Master assists those who seek him, but a dead diety cannot assist its dead worshippers. The Almighty has well illustrated this in the following parable:
The second means to attain the true objective of life consists in being informed of the beauty which the Benefactor possesses. Beauty naturally attracts the heart and incites love. The beauty of God consists in His unity, His majesty, His grandeur and His other lofty attributes. The Holy Quran draws attention to this matter in the following words:
The Quran teems with verses declaring the omnipotence, majesty and glory of the Almighty. It presents a God Who attracts the heart on account of His beauty and majesty, and rejects the dead, weak, unmerciful and powerless gods of false religions.
The third means of reaching the goal consists in realizing the immense goodness of the Lord. Beauty and kindness are the only two incentives to love. The attributes of God in this respect are described in the opening chapter of the Quran:
It is plain that the Divine goodness could not be perfect unless the Creator first brought every thing into existence from nothing and then gave it sustenance under all circumstances and Himself supported it in its weakness. All aspects of His mercy should come into play for His creature; and His kindness should have no limits set to it. To this perfect goodness, the Holy Book says:
The fourth means for the desired end is prayer. The Lord of the worlds says:
It may be noted that frequent stress has been laid upon this point in the Quran, because man can reach the Merciful only with Divine assistance
The fifth means is to seek God by spending one's substance and faculties, and sacrificing One's life and applying one's wisdom in His way:
The sixth way by which a person may safely attain to the goal is perseverence, that is, he should be indefatigable in the way in which he walks and unswerving under the hardest trial:
In these verses we are told that perseverance in faith brings about the pleasure of God. It is true, as the Arabic proverb goes, that "perseverance is more than a miracle". The highest degree of perseverance is called forth when adversities encompass a man all around, when he is threatened with loss of life, property and honor in the Divine path, and whatever is consoling or comforting forsakes him so much so that the Lord tries him even by closing the door of visions and revelations for a time.
It is when a man is surrounded by these dreary sightsand the last ray of hope disappears that perseverance must be shown. Under such ills and sufferings a man must show firmness, not swerve from the line, hold on through fire and flood, be willing to suffer every disgrace, wait for no succor or support, not even seek any good tidings from on High and, in-spite of his helplessness and the absence of all comfort, he must stand up firmly, submitting himself to the heavenly will without wringing his hands or beating his breast.
This is the true perseverance which reveals the true face of God. It is this noble quality which the apostles, the righteous and the faithful still exhale. Referring to this, the Lord of the worlds directs the believers to pray to Him in the following words:
It should be noted that in afflictions and in trials, the Merciful causes a light to descend upon the hearts of His faithful servants, strengthened with which they meet all trials with calmness and dignity and, on account of the sweetness of their faith, kiss the chains they are bound with for walking in the right path. When the righteous servants are under hard trials and sufferings and see death face to face, they do not supplicate their Creator to remove their sufferings. They know that to pray to Him to remove the cup of their hard lot is opposing His will and not in accordance with total resignation to it. The true lover does not recede but takes a forward step when he sees ills and adversities and, looking upon his own life as a very insignificant thing, willingly submits himself to the will of heaven and is prepared to meet the worst. Of such people the Lord says:
In short, this is the essence of the constancy which leads to the Divine Being.
The seventh means to attain the object is to keep company with the righteous and to imitate their perfect example.
Man is naturally inclined to imitate a model and feels the need of it. A perfect model infuses life into a person and invigorates him to act upon the principles of righteousness, while he who does not imitate a perfect model gradually loses all eagerness to do good and ultimately falls into error. To this end, the Quran says:
The eight means is true visions and revelations from God. As the path which leads to the Creator is a secret and mysterious one, and is full of difficulties and dangers, the spiritual wayfarer may depart from the right course or despair of attaining the goal. The Divine Grace, therefore, continues to encourage and strengthen him in his spiritual journey, gives him consolation in moments of grief and animates him with a still more zealous desire to pursue his journey eagerly.
Such is the Divine law with the wayfarer of His path that he continues to cheer their hearts with His word and to reveal to them that He is with them! Thus strengthened, they undertake this journey with great vigor. The Holy Book says:
It may be added that the Quran has described numerous other ways which assist us in reaching the goal of life, but we cannot describe them here for want of space.