BY ABDULWAREES SOLANKE
In my recent Fajr reflections, I extrapolated life to be in three phases: the first is the phase dependence and guidance. It can also be termed as the phase of education, orientation or Tarbiyyah, the phase when we are to learn and assimilate to prepare us for the second phase, the phase of struggle and sacrifice, the phase of expression and contention of what we learnt, when we are either enslaved or we exhibit our freedom from the guidance or orientation we received: this is the phase of jihad. The third phase of life is conditioned on the contents of our tarbiyyah in the first phase and its application in the second phase. So if the first phase of our life is rich and wholesome and the contents are positively deployed or utilized in the second phase, there is every possibility that the third phase will be one of peace and tranquility. Usually this phase is the phase of spirituality, a sublime state of submission and acceptance, of gratitude. I call it the phase of Islam. But we can only attain this phase of Islam if we are conscious of the imperatives of each phase. The Question then is who is a conscious man?
I take my understanding of the Conscious Man from the fountain of the ultimate knowledge, the book of Allah which in several parts calls our attention to why man was created in the first instance. Man was not created for a jest. The conscious man is the one that understands the essence of his being, that he was created for a purpose, which is service to Allah, the purpose of being a vicegerent of Allah on the surface of the earth, the purpose of khilaafah, managing or coordinating the resources of Allah on the earth, establishing the authority of Allah on the earth. But most of mankind fail in this sublime mandate of mastering the world because they do not have the knowledge of Allah or the mission of the prophets and the purpose of creation, either because they are corrupted in learning or they did not embrace learning, the right learning.
Because they are wrongly adjusted in this critical though primary phase, they reduce themselves to a phase of life of the animals, which lacks any spiritual or intellectual essence, but just the survival or material essence. However, it is the conditioning of the material-survival essence by the mental and spiritual essence that man attains true refinement and balance. He who attains the balance of the mental, spiritual and the material is truly conscious and he is able to pursue the real essence of life and attain success. This is the conscious man who understand the purpose of life and he also understands that it is not just about this life, that there is accounting.
So, the conscious man is ever watching over his soul. He tries to improve it and purifies it, preparing it for a greater success, a happier end. That it is why Allah hazawajal says in Surah Ash Shams (Shapter 91, Vs 9 and 10) that he succeeds who purifies his self and he fails he who corrupts it. In essence, the conscious man is ever struggling, engaging in jihad u nafs. He is ever conscious of the warning of Allah: Do not be like those who forget Allah, and He made them to forget their own souls…the rebellious. He takes strongly to the words of Allah as contained in the chapter of the iron, Surah al-hadid: Chapter 57, Vs 16: has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allah’s reminder and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the scripture before and the term was prolonged for them, and so their hearts were hardened.
The heart of the conscious man is softened by the reminder, by the remembrance of Allah. After all, hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah. This is heart of saqiinah, the heart of submission and tranquility, tranquility brought by acceptance of Allah after conquest of the self and release of the self to the service of Allah alone, a heart that is purified for the worship of Allah. This is the heart or soul of the conscious man who understands the inevitability of death, the fitnah of wealth and the family, the punishment of the grave, the direness of the siraat and the nature of barzaak. He understands the whisperings of ash-shaitaan and avoids them just as he appreciates the utility of adh-dhikr, the remembrance of Allah and embraces it. The conscious is shown the grades of light and he tries to walk in them. He is also shown the shades of darkness and he shuns all that is tantamount to darkness in his life. The conscious man accepts the reality of al-qiyaamah and the truth of al-Jannah. In his life, the conscious man works to attain the soul of mutmainah or the soul of the true servant with accepted service. The conscious man is ever conscious of Death and life after death.