Saturday, May 17, 2008

ISLAM - Unity of matter and spirit

A feature of Islam is that it does not divide life into watertight compartments of matter and spirit. It stands not for denial of life but for the fulfillment of life. Islam does not believe in asceticism. It does not ask man to avoid material things.
It holds that spiritual elevation is to be achieved by living piously in the rough and tumble of life, not by renouncing the world. The Qur'an advises us to pray as follows: "…Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the hereafter that which is good …" (Qur'an, 2:201)
But in making use of life's luxuries, Islam advises man to be moderate and keep away from extravagance. Allah says: "…and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not (those who waste by extravagance)." (Qur'an, 7:31)
On this aspect of moderation, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Observe fasting and break it (at the proper time) and stand in prayer and devotion (in the night) and have sleep, for your body has its right over you, and your eyes have rights over you, and your wife has a claim upon you."
Thus, Islam does not admit any separation between material and moral, mundane and spiritual life, and enjoins man to devote all of his energies to the reconstruction of life on healthy moral foundations.
It teaches him that moral and material powers must be welded together and that spiritual salvation can be achieved by using material resources for the good of man in the service of just ends and not by living a life of asceticism or by running away from the challenges of life. Islam seeks to establish equilibrium between the two aspects of life – the material and the spiritual.
It says that everything in the world is for man, but man was created to serve a higher purpose: the establishment of a moral and just order that will fulfill the will of Allah. Its teachings cater for the spiritual as well as the temporal needs of man. Islam enjoins man to purify his soul and to reform his daily life – both individual and collective – and to establish the supremacy of right over might and of virtue over vice. Thus Islam stands for the middle path and the goal of producing a moral man in the service of a just society.

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