Remembrance of God

By Jamal Rahman

“There are those whom neither business nor striving after gain can turn from the remembrance of God.”   (Qur’an 24:37)

“The friend of God buys and sells in the market and marries and takes part in social interaction and never for gets God for a single moment.”  ~ Abu Said ibn Khayr

According to the Qur’an, all the souls of unborn humanity made a sacred covenant with God in the heavenly realms. We pledged to remember to worship our Sustainer once we were placed on earth; we promised to practice divine attributes in all aspects of our lives, by being just, loving and compassionate.

However, because human beings have free will, it has not been simple or easy to uphold this covenant. The trials and tribulations of life can weaken our resolve to be ethical and loving, and the glitter of earthly temptations can incline us to worship money and power. In our struggle to survive or flourish on earth, it is easy to go astray.

In the Islamic Tradition, there is a story of angels complaining to God about the inequities and forgetfulness of humans on earth. God replied that if angels possessed free will as humans did, they also would succumb to earthly temptations and forget God. The angels chose two of their best members, Harut and Marut, and God sent them to earth endowed with free will. Eventually, Harut and Marut, both of whom are mentioned in the Qur’an, became corrupted and committed grave sins. Chastened by this experience, angels have ever since then been asking God to forgive humanity.

 Indeed, the truly developed human being is someone who can participate fully in the bazaar of life with its ups and downs and yet never forget his or her commitment to God.

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