`Aamaal-ul-Shari`at: How the actions of the Shari`ah influence noble human characters

Taher bhaisaheb Ezzuddin bin Shahzada Alivaqar Qaidjoher Bhaisaheb Ezzuddin

In this month of Ramadan-al-mo`azzam, the month also known as ‘Sher-ullah’ because it is the ‘month of Allah’, all Muslims are focused on the `aamaal of the Shari`ah. Indeed, it is a month that has a remarkable effect on every category of devotee, as even those who have the least inclination towards practising their faith during the year, make a positive effort to practise in this month and those who are diligent even otherwise make an even more concerted effort in these auspicious days.

Whilst much of the benefit that is to be had from these `aamaal, that which we know as ‘thawaab’ and ‘barakat’ will only manifest itself in the hereafter, there is, necessarily, benefit to be gained from them in this life first as well. One of these benefits is in our character – ‘akhlaaq’ and the `aamaal-ul-Shari`ah imbibe good characters and weed out bad ones. This is only natural since Rasulallah (s.a) had said, “Bo-isto li-utammima makarim-al- akhlaaq”; “I have been sent to complete characters of goodness.” This article hopes to show some aspects of how the `aamaal-ul- Shari`ah creates good characters in those who practise them.

In the Ikhwan-ul-safa, Imam Ahmed-al- Mastuur, in the Chapter of Animals, describes a hearing between the animal kingdom and representatives of mankind. This hearing takes place before the King of the Jinn and in it the issue has been raised as to whether man’s superiority over animals entitles him to abuse them in the way that he often does.

In the course of this hearing the leader of the birds says the following:

“O’ humans! Fasting and namaaz have been made compulsory on you because you are ill with sin; slander, foul language and gossip are the food and drink with which your stomachs are filled. By such slandering you eat the flesh of your brothers and that is why you have to be treated with the medicine of the Shari`ah. Through fasting the Shari`ah is prescribing that you refrain from this intake because abstinence is the basis of all remedy and the stomach is the source of all illness. The weight of these sins is heavy in your stomachs and to lighten it the prophets, in the manner of doctors, make you perform the exercise of enacting namaaz five times a day.

You have the habit of accumulating wealth and you do so by illegal means, by extortion, theft and deceit and you are miserly in spending. You accumaulate that which you do not need and so zakaat is compulsory upon you so that you are purified of these sins and become imbibed with the trait of generosity.” (Of zakaat it is also written in “Aqwaal-zahabiyyah: When you give in the cause of Allah it benefits the soul, cleansing it of the filth of meanness. It conditions the soul towards generosity such that it might gradually reach the heights of prophets and angels. Their generosity is distinguished by the fact that it is given without any thought for reward in return).

“If you were of noble character and assisted your fellow man in times of need and trouble, then in Jum`a and in `Eid you would not have been compellled to congrgate in houses of worship. This has been made compulsory so that, after periods of time have elapsed, such gatherings can stir friendship and brotherhood and goodwill and peace can be established for the sake of the world and of coming generations.

As for the namaaz, it is the means by which grudges and malevolence are purified (ie wuzu), as you face Allah with a pure intent (niyyat),focus on the qibla of good deeds and actions, stand up in aid of Mumineen, sit down from animosity, show humility to all (ruku/sujuud) and sit together with your brothers (tashahud). It is when all these aspects come together that we form that which we call namaaz.”

Namaaz, roza, zakaat, the three most prominent forms of `ibadat that are central to our observance of Sherullah. When seen in the light of this particular bayaan, it is only too obvious why this month represents the true “season of goodwill” amongst any faith currently practised around the world. This year it coincides with the Christian period of “goodwill” to all man and the emptiness of the rampant commercialism and increasing depravity of one religious festival can be seen in stark contrast to the vibrant spirit that invigorates our own.

That spirit is personified by Aqa Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (t.u.s.) and his `aamaal manifest the body of action in which that spirit lives; this we seek to emulate in our own, inadequate, way. But, our inadequacies can be set aside in this month of `ibaadat and akhlaaq hasanah by the first and last du`a that truly ennobles any heart and that is that Allah t`aala keep our Mawla in health and fitness until the Day of Qayamat.

excerpted from the book Nafahaato husn-il-khulq
translated by Mulla Mustafa Sh. Dawood Feeroz

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