A highly learned man, Imam Jafar al-Sadiq’s insight and knowledge have provided a vast array of lessons for us to learn from as his followers. It has long been debated as to whether ‘Lantern of the Path’ was actually written by the Imam himself. Although it may be contentious as to whether it is a work of the Imam (as), there is still a great deal we can get from this book and I would urge everyone to read it at some stage.
Here are 5 lessons that we can take from this book and implement into our lives.
Being thankful to Allah (swt)
‘With every breath you take, a thanksgiving is incumbent upon you, indeed, a thousand thanks or more…complete thankfulness is to sincerely repent your inability to convey the least amount of gratitude, and expressing this by means of your sincere glorification of Allah.’
Every single day when we pray, we praise Allah (swt) and thank him, but how often do we consciously reflect upon what we are actually saying, instead of going through the motions? How often do we sincerely thank Allah for all the blessings he has bestowed upon us?
‘…and few of my servants are grateful.’ (34:13)
We go through life every single day, but do we even realise how lucky we are to even be alive? Perhaps we could all implement this into our lives, on a daily basis, by taking the time to reflect upon what Allah (swt) has provided us with and truly thanking him for it.
Learning from the Quran
‘The person who recites the Qur’an needs three things: a fearful heart, a tranquil and receptive body, and an appropriate place to recite. When his heart fears Allah, then the accursed Satan flees from him. When he frees himself of all attachments, then his heart is devoted to recitation, and nothing impedes him from obtaining the blessing of the light of the Qur’an and its benefits.’
I speak for myself before anyone else, but how often do we read the Quran without truly contemplating on what we are reading? I know I have myself read the Arabic verses quickly before an exam, or after prayers but not actually understanding or learning from it.
We see from this short excerpt that if we were to sit down and devote our time fully into reading the Quran, there is a great deal that we could get from it. Again, perhaps we could all implement this into our life. Sitting down for 20 or 30 minutes a day and reciting the Qur’an (with it’s meaning of course!) and contemplating on the lessons that can get gained from what have just read would be the best way forward.
Avoid backbiting and casting judgement on others
‘Giving judgement is not permissible for someone who has not been endowed by Allah with the qualities of inner purity, sincerity in both his hidden and visible actions, and a proof from his Lord in every state. This is because whoever has judged has decreed, and decree is only valid by the permission of Allah and by His proof. Whoever is liberal in his judgement, without having made a proper examination, is ignorant and will be taken to task for his ignorance…’
Backbiting as well all know is one of the gravest sins in Islam, but how often do we talk about others without even realising it? When sitting down with friends or family during a meal, or whilst we are drinking our tea in Mosque after the program, sometimes we just forget ourselves and get talking.
We do not have the right to judge anyone on their deeds and actions, and yet at times, we feel entitled to casually comment on what someone is wearing or what they have done recently. I know myself, I have been in that situation before, and then regretted what I said later on. As the Holy Prophet has said, “Whoever is boldest among you in judging is also the most insolent to Allah.”
Be sincere in your repentance
‘Repentance is the rope of Allah, and the mainstay of His concern for His servants, who must always show repentance, in every state.
As for the repentance of the common man, he washes his inward being with the water of regret, in constant recognition of his wrong action, having regret for what he has done, and fear for what remains of his life. He does not think that his wrong actions are insignificant, for that would lead him to laziness; his continued weeping and regret for what he has missed is in itself an act of worship. He should restrain himself from his worldly appetites, and seek Allah’s help in showing repentance, and to protect him from returning to what he did before.’
Sincere repentance is a key point here; we ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness every day in Salah but do we commit to what we are saying? Yes, Allah (swt) is the most forgiving and most merciful, but do we really expect his forgiveness if we then go and commit same sins from the previous day? We all strive for improvement, and so surely, we can to improve in this way too. We have all made mistakes in our lives, and as a result, tried to learn from them. In the same manner when we commit sins, we should learn from it and not repeat it.
‘Pardoning someone when you have the power to punish is one of the customary practices of the messengers and the secrets of the God fearing. Pardon is when you do not charge your companion for what he has done wrong outwardly, when you forget the cause by which there was inward affliction, and when you extend great charity in your choice despite having power over him.’
We have all been in situations where we have been wronged, but do we hold grudges with others, or do we forgive and forget? We ask for forgiveness from Allah (swt), but if can’t even forgive Allah’s creation, how do we expect to be forgiven by the Creator?
Take time to truly reflect on how to forgive a person, and actively seek to liberate yourself from that which is keeping you from forgiving them and elevating yourself in the process. As the Holy Quran states, “They should pardon and turn away. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is forgiving, merciful.” (24:22)
by Imran Janmohamed