By Ashraf Amin Malik
The characteristics of fellow feeling, adherence to truth, justice, honesty and integrity are fast diminishing. On the contrary selfishness, injustice, dishonesty and unreliability reign supreme. In such a state of pandemonium and insecurity mankind requires a potent programme of revival, restoration and reinstatement. Umm-ul-Musabbehaat: An explanation of Surat-ul-Hadid (Chapter 57 of the al-Quran) by late Dr Israr Ahmad serves the same purpose for humanity in general and the Muslim Ummah in particular.
Man is created with a special purpose. He is neither aimless nor directionless. The authentic revealed scriptures of all religions remind him of his position and role in the world he lives in. An individual lives not only for himself but he lives for others as well. He can`t overlook the sufferings of his fellow beings. He is required to help them through words and deeds. However, often it happens that a man falls prey to selfishness, arrogance, and self-importance. Securing wealth, name and fame remains the buzzword of his life. The root cause of such malady is the narrow vision of a person wherein he sees nothing beyond this world. He counts this worldly life as an ultimate criterion for measuring success and failure. The book Umm-ul-Musabbehaat strives to enrich the vision of a man wherein he sees beyond the borders of this existing world. He makes not only the existing earthly life worthy of living but equally safeguards the eternal blessings of heavenly life.
Dr Israr has highlighted two essential characteristics that, if adopted, may transform the face of the earth. One is Imaan, and the other Infaaq; the former refers to the belief in Allah and His Messengers, the latter to expenditure of wealth for the wellbeing of people. When a man seeks the pleasure and rewards of his Creator, he seldom stockpiles wealth and valuables. He finds his riches useful only when it alleviates the distress people. While helping others he seeks no favours from them. He seeks His reward and blessings.
World over, we witness power struggles among nations; coveting the material resources of each other forms the favourite pastime of global communities. In such a tussle nations forget the conditions of their own people. Poor become poorer, the rich, richer. When an individual acknowledges the lordship of God, he readily spends his surplus money on the pitiable. The author has elaborated the concept of Infaaq by extending its scope. It not only connotes spending wealth but one`s time, physical, and intellectual strength for the welfare of creation. All such tendencies in union may help in establishing a world of justice and balance.
In the light of the Surah, the writer has refuted the propensity of monasticism. The Qur`an trains individuals who shoulder the challenges, tests and trials of worldly life. It clearly states that your faith is complete only when you spend the most lovable of your valuables, make sacrifices, and face hardships for the cause of justice and equity. Besides the Prophet (SAW) has preferred a strong Muslim over the weak. A believer lives among his fellow beings, shares their joys and sorrows, and alleviates their sufferings according to his own capacity.
The book has a special appeal for the contemporary world. If we make up our mind to subscribe to the institution of Zakat, spiritual blessings would pour in, and starvation may consume no more humans.