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April 17, 2014 | Jumada Al-Thani 16, 1435
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IslamiCity > Articles > Where's Today's Ark?
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The Prophets are chosen by God to guide erring humanity to the Straight Path ..
Audio Where's Today's Ark?

Where's Today's Ark?
4/7/2014 - Religious - Article Ref: IC0410-2493
Number of comments: 21
Opinion Summary: Agree:19  Disagree:0  Neutral:2
By: Nasir Munir
IslamiCity* -

The world is an incessant interplay of the ninety-nine attributes of God. These attributes are almost equally divided between those of rigor and immanence. Man benefits from both. Where immanence predominates, one is to be thankful for God's mercy [1]. When tested with rigor, a concerted effort to correct any deviation from the monotheistic path (tauhid) is required.

Introduction

The people later to be known as the nation of Noah gradually slipped into a state heedlessness (Ghaflah). They negated the primordial covenant with God and attributed divine power to replicas of people, things and special events. Satan who was granted the power to "whisper to the soul" made this practice fair seeming. Against this backdrop, God sent a messenger to reacquaint the people with the covenant and guide them to the straight path (sirat ul mostaqeem). 

Ma - Tehtaj An Naharu Ila Dalili
(When Does Daylight Require Proof?)

The time slices during which God's Messengers were sent to earth are times of divine refraction in human experience. During these times Truth becomes manifest and evidentiary miracles, often custom made, are in plain view of people. Rebuffing Truth (Kufr) with the divine light blazing is a form of Pharaonic arrogance not dissimilar to Iblis's first act of disobedience. God grants human beings volition in accepting or rejecting Guidance (Hdiya). The nation of Noah , by and large, rejected Guidance. God decreed that the rejecters would perish. An enormous body of water overwhelmed all, save those in the ship of salvation.

Prophet Noah , in common with other Messengers of God, showed, for all humanity, the path to reclaim the title: "lieutenant of God on earth". Stations (states) of the nafs along this path are followed by aspects of Prophet Noah's life-long Message as reflected in life-events of later day Messengers of God. Finally, the teasing question: "Where's Today's Ark?" is tackled.

Discovering the Straight Path

The Prophets are chosen by God to guide erring humanity to the Straight Path (sirat al mostaqim). A canonical Hadith (Hadith Jibreel) identifies three Stations along this path:

1) Islam: concerns the stage of action, (generally acts of piety that require the body to be performed) [2]

2) Iman: the state of firm conviction in the belief in God; this is the stage where the mind surrenders to the Truth.

3) Ihsan: indescribable in human terms is the witnessing of God (shahood). Hallmarks of the previous states are unnecessary. God is witnessed through the 'eye' of the Heart (qalb). Each of these states has associated with them a progressively more abstract and more complete view of the true nature of God. Ascension to succeeding Stations is made possible through jihad al nafs [3]. The ascension to higher states is not necessarily linear, as Imam Rumi's ascension to the state of Ihsan shows.

Ahl e Niyah Saru

Wa
Ahl-e Mohaba Taru  [4]

Imam Rumi was a renowned Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) scholar. While visiting the city of Tabriz, he was questioned about the purpose of acquiring knowledge. Not content with his answer, the questioner stated that the purpose of knowledge was to "Know, the Known". In an incommunicable flash of realization, Imam Rumi realized the significance of the questioner's statement. Whereupon, guided by the questioner, (who he accepted as a Sheikh (guide)) he followed a path to Know the Known (God), which led him to the state of Ihsan. The questioner, as it turned out, was a Gnostic, himself: Imam Shams Tabrazi. Imam Rumi's son later writes that the great scholar was like a schoolboy learning from his Sheikh everyday. 

The Prophets

Iblis, the ancient enemy of Adam, has purposed himself to make mankind forget our affirmation to: "Alastu -bi -rabikum" (Am I not Your Lord?). Failure to honor our covenant leads to outcomes similar to that of Satan. God, in His mercy, selects people (Prophets) to remind, guide and admonish erring humanity. Noah , was selected to remind people of their covenant with God and give them an opportunity to accept or reject it. This is the mission of all Prophets of God. The truths, sense of Abodieh, Rida and the road to salvation shown by Prophet Noah's are recounted in the context of later day Prophets. 

The Nations of Ad, Thamud

The people of Ad and Thamud were descendants of the people of Noah - who were in the ship of Salvation. Similar to the people of Noah , they too attributed divine power to man-made objects, thereby rejecting God and the Prophets sent to them (Hud and Salih . Their fate was similar to that of the nation of Noah

Heedlessness leads to attributes similar to those of Iblis - with consequent consequences.

Prophet Ibrahim

Prophet Ibrahim was cast into the fire (after he destroyed the idols). God decreed he should be saved: "O fire be coolness and peaceful to Ibrahim". (Quran 21:69) 

God who made the natural order can just as easily break it.

Prophet Ibrahim when challenged to sacrifice what he loved most - offered his son. 

The sacrifice required is not of flesh and blood, but rather the surrender of man's purpose and will to God. (in a word: Islam)

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