Contemplation and consideration
February 07 2020 12:20 AM
Slovenia’s first mosque opened its doors in the capital Ljubljana on February 3, more than 50 years after the initial request to build it was made. Muslims in the predominantly Catholic Alpine country first filed a request to build a mosque in the late 1960s while Slovenia was still part of the former Communist Yugoslavia. The community received permission 15 years ago, but ran into opposition from right-wing politicians and groups, as well as financial troubles. Below: A general view of prayer room inside the mosque, designed by the Bevk Perovic Arhitekti architecture firm.

Deliberation most certainly leads to knowledge, which, in turn, results in action. Hence, if people ponder the magnificence of Allah The Almighty, they will surely refrain from His disobedience. Moreover, contemplation is a mirror that reflects one’s good and evil deeds. It is one of the best acts of worship, for not only does it bring about wisdom, it endows the heart with life and instills the fear of Allah The Almighty in it. 
That is why Abu Sulaymaan Ad-Daaraani, may Allah have mercy upon him, would say, “When I go out and see anything, I notice the blessing of Allah in it and take a lesson from it.” Similarly, when the wife of Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with them, was asked about her husband’s best act of worship, she replied, “Contemplation and consideration.”
It was also reported that Muhammad ibn Ka‘b al-Qarathi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, “I would rather read [only] the chapters Az-Zalzalah (The Earthquake) and Al-Qaari’ah (The Sudden Calamity) all night long and ponder on their meaning, than recite the Qur’an quickly without reflection.” 
Taawoos, may Allah have mercy upon him, narrates, “The disciples said to ‘Eesa (Jesus), may Allah exalt his mention, ‘O soul of Allah! Is there anyone on earth like you today?’ He replied, ‘Yes; he whose utterances comprise the remembrance of Allah, silence is meditation and gazes are introspective, is like me.” Therefore, one should contemplate the blessings of Allah The Almighty and all things, and must only avoid questioning His entity, for, as He Says (what means): {There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.} [Qur’an 42:11]
There are many verses that refer to deliberation, reflection, meditation and consideration in the Noble Qur’an; Allah The Almighty Says (what means): 
{Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought.} [Qur’an 2:219] 
{“Say, ‘Is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Then will you not give thought?’”} [Qur’an 6:50] 
{Do they not contemplate within themselves? Allah has not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them except in truth and for a specified term. And indeed, many of the people, in [the matter of] the meeting with their Lord, are disbelievers.} [Qur’an 30:8] 
It is related that ‘Ataa’, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Once, I went with ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Umayr to ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with them, who said to him: ‘It is about time you visited us.’ He, may Allah be pleased with him, replied, ‘I repeat the wise saying that goes – visit people once in a while, so that they would love you more.’ She said, ‘Let go of this nonsense.’ Ibn ‘Umayr, may Allah be pleased with him, then asked, ‘Please tell us about the most remarkable thing that you saw the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, do.’ She paused for a moment, then responded, ‘One night, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said to me, ‘O ‘Aa’ishah! Let me worship my Lord tonight.’ I told him, “By Allah, I love being close to you and I love what pleases you.” He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, then performed ablution and started praying. He started weeping until his lap was soaked. Then, he started weeping until his beard became wet; and [he continued so] until the ground became damp. Bilaal, may Allah be pleased with him, then came to perform the Athaan (call to prayer) and found the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, weeping, so he asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, why are you in tears when Allah has forgiven what has preceded of your sins and what will follow?’ He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, answered,‘Should I not be a grateful slave? Indeed, a verse was revealed to me tonight; woe to the one who recites it and does not ponder its meaning. [The verse is:]{Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.} [Qur’an 3:190].’”
On another occasion, Huthayfah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates: “Once, I prayed with the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam; he started reciting the chapter of Al-Baqarah (The Cow). I thought that he would bow after one hundred verses, but he went on. Then, I assumed he would recite the whole chapter in one standing, but he then read the chapter An-Nisaa’ (The Women), finished it and continued reciting the chapter Aal-‘Imraan (The Family of ‘Imraan). Whenever he would come across a verse of Allah’s praise, he used to glorify Him; and if he would happen upon a verse mentioning good things, he would pray to Allah for them. Also, if he would read a verse that mentions bad things [like Hell], he would seek refuge from them in Him. When he finally bowed and uttered, ‘Subhaana Rabbi Al-‘Atheem (Glory be to my Lord, The Great)’ and his bowing was almost equivalent in length to his standing. After that, he said, ‘Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah (Allah hears the one who praises Him)’. Then, he stood for a lengthy period and prostrated for a similar amount of time, saying: ‘Subhaana Rabbi Al-A‘la (Glory be to my Lord, The Most High).’” [Muslim]
Likewise, ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, relates: “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said to me, ‘Recite the Qur’an for me.’ I replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah, how could I read it to you when it was revealed to you?’ He said, ‘I like to listen to it being recited by others.’ I read out the chapter An-Nisaa’; when I reached the verse (which means): {So how [will it be] when We bring from every nation a witness and we bring you, [O Muhammad] against these [people] as a witness?} [Qur’an 4:41], I lifted my head, or a man beside me nudged me so I looked up, and saw the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, in tears.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Many other reports from the Sunnah confirm this quality and all of them prove the Prophet’s, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, constant contemplation and consideration. 
He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, would also remind us that a person who reflects and “remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes flood with tears” is among the seven types of people, whom Allah The Almighty will shelter in His shade on the Day of Judgment, when there will be no other shade. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Others from our righteous predecessors would similarly advise us; Al-Hasan, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, “Deliberation for one hour is better than praying all night long.” It is also told that the wise man Luqmaan, may Allah have mercy upon him, would habitually sit in solitude; his slave would ask him about that, telling him that it would be better for him to remain in the company of people. But he, may Allah have mercy upon him, used to tell him that staying alone for long periods of time is better for contemplation and that deep reflection leads to Paradise. 
It was also narrated that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz, may Allah have mercy upon him, once wept when he was among his friends; when questioned about his behavior, he replied, “I thought of life and its pleasures and desires; I learnt from it that all its desires are eventually followed by what is bitter. Verily, these realities should be warnings for those who are heedful.” 
Moreover, the most beneficial thoughts are those that pertain to the Hereafter and the favors of Allah The Almighty, His blessings, ordinances, prohibitions and means of true knowledge of Him, His names and attributes. Indeed, such thoughts instill in an individual love of Allah The Almighty and knowledge of Him and His religion. That is because when one ponders the next life, its honor and perpetuity, and this life and its meanness and transience, he or she would aspire to the Hereafter and forsake this world. Moreover, when one contemplates this ephemeral existence and the impossibility of a longer lifespan, he or she would become more serious and endeavor to make the optimum use of his or her time. 
On the other hand, thinking of only this world and other nonsense is the door to all kinds of evil. That would include concerning oneself with notions about what we have not been ordered to ruminate over, such as the essence of Allah The Almighty and matters that surpass human intellect. As for one who is mean in his or her thoughts, he or she will display the same narrow-mindedness in all affairs. 
Therefore, Mugheeth Al-Aswad, may Allah have mercy upon him, would instruct: “Visit the graves every day so they would remind you [of death]. Imagine the situation with your hearts [and minds], looking at both groups when they are led either to Paradise or Hell. Let your souls and bodies not forget [the latter] and its maces of iron.” Another factor that stimulates contemplation is fasting, which is why it was said: “When the stomach is full, thinking becomes dormant, wisdom shuts down and the organs stop performing acts of worship.” 
A person should think of his first priority and primary motive of a deed; if it is for Allah The Almighty, he or she should proceed, but if it is for someone or something else, he or she should stop. Indeed, deliberation is good in all matters, except what affects one’s Hereafter. Ash-Shaafi‘i, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, “Think before you decide and contemplate before you take a step forward.” Ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, would also advise his friends: “In your time, the best among you is the one who hastens toward good deeds; however, there will be a time when the best among people will be those who reflect on and verify everything, because of the rampant false talk.”
After knowing the value of contemplation and the verses, many Hadith and sayings regarding it, it is worthy of us to pause and ponder our identity, creation and destiny; and, whether we are to live forever or die, and if we are to pass away, then where would we go: Hell or Paradise? Verily, life without Allah The Almighty is like a mirage that appears as water to a thirsty person, who comes to it only to find it to be nothing; but then, he finds Allah The Almighty before Him, Who will pay him his due, in full, for indeed, He is swift in account. 
Hence, think of death, graves and the Hereafter; and, as Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy upon him, used to say, if one is not deterred by that, “he or she will not be dissuaded if even two mountains smash into one another right in front of him or her.”
Contemplate, for life is short and your breaths are numbered; your shrouds are being made and your burial place is waiting for you. Those who are alive will follow those who preceded them in death, for that is the end of all; indeed, there is nothing other than that, but false hope, for one’s demise has already been destined. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion} [Qur’an 3:185]
Once, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz, may Allah have mercy upon him, sat pondering and said: “The graves have penetrated the burial cloths, ravaged the bodies, sucked the blood and devoured the flesh. I wonder what the worms have done with the corpses; they probably defaced them, broke the bones, bared the fragmented limbs and tore the organs. I wonder if [the dead] feel any difference between the day and night, for are they not in pitch-black darkness? How many of them whose faces were soft have rotten and their necks severed from their bodies? Their pupils dissolved and turned into pus that ran on their faces. Then shortly, their bones became disintegrated.” Then, he said, “I wish I knew how I would bear the harshness of the earth and which one of my cheeks would decompose first.” 
Let us also reflect on the conditions of Muslims, for one who does not do so, is not one of them; and our only worry must be our Hereafter. It is really odd to find people preoccupied with sport, cinema, Arabic or foreign songs, or fashion, at a time when Muslims are being subjected to massacres and annihilation everywhere. 
Moreover, many among us do not even have a safe sidewalk to call their home; so, contemplate this, for you may find this to enable you to praise Allah The Almighty for the blessings that you have and to cease being ungrateful. You may feel ashamed when you consider your own negligence, for modesty and faith are linked; a lack in one denotes a failing in the other as well. 
You may then save yourself before it is too late, because the enemies of the past are no different from those of today and they do not differentiate between one Muslim and the other, and, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater.} [Qur’an 3:118] We have become an easy prey for the wicked, because of our love for life and our hatred of death. That is because one who makes life his major concern, Allah The Almighty will deprive him or her and he or she will have no share in life, except what is predestined. On the other hand, he who prioritises the Hereafter, Allah The Almighty will enrich him in his heart and the world will be at his service. 
We must also think about how we can achieve Islamic unity and brotherhood in faith. This is our task, for we are all sentries at the fortified borders of Islam and we must be careful that we are not the weakest links. We should supplicate to Allah The Almighty at night to bring the hearts of Muslims together, unite their word and grant them victory over their enemy. We cannot renounce our responsibility, for we will indeed be held accountable, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): 
{Then We will surely question those to whom [a message] was sent, and We will surely question the messengers.} [Qur’an 7:6] 
{That He may question the truthful about their truth.} [Qur’an 33:8] 
Furthermore, we should reflect on our own selves and the blessings bestowed on us by Allah The Almighty, Who Says (what means): {And in yourselves. Then will you not see?} [Qur’an 51:21] We must also know that Islam is the greatest favour of all, so have we expressed our gratitude towards Him for it? 
Contemplating the realm of the heavens and the earth also guides those who feel at a loss, because everything is a sign that indicates the oneness of Allah The Almighty. Let us ponder how He has raised the heavens and proportioned it, gave the night its darkness and removed its brightness; then, He spread out the earth, extracted water from it and made pastures. Let us think of the omnipotence of Allah The Almighty in His creation and the accurate system of the universe that is in motion, as He Says (what means): {It is not allowable for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming.} [Qur’an 36:40] 
Let us also consider the numerous miracles of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, related to astrology, medicine, wisdom and eloquence and, of course, the greatest miracle of all is the Noble Qur’an. There is much that proves the prophethood of Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, in his morals, knowledge of the matters of the unseen, acceptance of his supplications and the fact that he was mentioned in the scriptures of the People of the Book. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Then do they not give thought? There is in their companion [Muhammad] no madness. He is not but a clear warner.} [Qur’an 7:184] 
If we contemplate all this, our faith and conviction in our religion will certainly increase, and we will find ourselves supplicating to Allah The Almighty, saying, “O Lord, make me die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.” O Allah, let our silence be contemplation, our speech Your remembrance and our gaze a means of learning lessons. 
We should also equip ourselves with beneficial knowledge and act on it, alongside performing righteous deeds. Let us be keen on strengthening the principles of creed inside ourselves, because our war with the enemies of Islam is ideological. Additionally, we must be aware that the only path toward the company of the victorious and the saved, is to adhere to the course of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. So, let us ask ourselves if we have truly adopted this methodology in our knowledge, acts and beliefs.
Also, if we consider the state of our righteous predecessors, all of us will, undoubtedly, find ourselves negligent. However, this should not discourage us from striving against our vain desires, for Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.} [Qur’an 29:69] 
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Our Lord reproaches us for being weak, so it is His help we must seek in abandoning vices, which must be done before looking to acquire virtues. We must beware of committing sins as that would be equivalent to one who makes a hole in a ship, making it sink. Further, as it is said, the disobedience of an army is more dangerous to itself than the swords of its enemy.

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Bribery is unlawful and a major grave sin

In Islam, bribery represents anything that is offered in order to obtain the invalidation of what is correct or an endorsement of a wrong action. Not only is this unlawful, it is a major grave sin, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful].} [Qur’an 2:188]. Ath-Thahabi, may Allah have mercy upon him, commented that, “or send it [in bribery] to the rulers”, means: do not buy them off with this wealth or induce them to confer to you the rights of others, while knowing of its impermissibility.
Those who accept bribes are, undoubtedly, consuming an ill-gotten gain, and are extremely dispraised and defamed by Allah The Almighty, who Says (what means), {And you see many of them hastening into sin and aggression and the devouring of [what is] unlawful. How wretched is what they have been doing.} [Qur’an 5:62]
When bribery becomes rampant in societies, it leads to a loss of rights and prevalence of injustice and corruption. That is why, as ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, “cursed the one who offers bribes and the one who accepts them.” [At-Tirmithi and Abu Dawood, Albani classified at as Sahih]
On another occasion, a person who the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, appointed to collect Zakah (obligatory alms tax) came, and said, “This is for you and this was given to me as a present.” So, to clarify the punishment of a person who takes bribes, he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, ascended the pulpit and said, “What about a collector whom I give an assignment but [he later] says: ‘This is for you and this has been given to me as a gift’? Why did he not remain in the house of his father or mother, and observe whether gifts would have still been presented to him or not? I swear by Him in Whose Hand the life of Muhammad is, any one of you will not take anything from [such kinds of gifts] but will then bring it on the Day of Judgment, carrying on his neck [its like, whether it is] a grunting camel, a mooing camel or a bleating ewe.” Therefore, whoever indulges in bribery will bear a great load of sin on his or her neck and will be questioned about it on the Day of Resurrection.
It should be known that the prohibition of receiving bribery is categorical. As for one who offers it, there are some details involved. Obviously, it is unlawful for a person to pay someone off in order to withhold someone’s right or wrong him or her. However, if a person is compelled to offer up any incentive as a last resort, in order to obtain a right of his or hers, or to ward off injustice, then that act becomes permitted.
Even if they seem similar, the crucial difference between a bribe and a present, is the intention. Bribery is usually given to block other’s rights or to obtain something that a person does not deserve. On the other hand, the intention behind giving a present is to gain affability, acquaintances and benevolence.
Finally, among the main harms and corruptions caused by bribery are the following:
1- It angers Allah The Almighty and subjects those involved to His torment and curse.
2- It corrupts the society, from the top level, all the way down, including the rulers and their subjects.
3- It undermines the rights of the weak and the wronged people.
4- It exposes the one who bribes to punishment on the Day of Judgment, when his or her hands will be tied together and he or she will be thrown into Hell.

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