Hasten not to underline the first word! No doubt, you may be right in thinking the word should have been, perhaps, aquatic. Yet, it does not necessary mean I am wrong for removing the letter c. To put your mind at rest, let me try to take you through the word I intend to discuss.
Before a standardized way of writing a language was adopted, foreigners jot down a word base on their perception of a native speaker’s expression in accordance with the available sound in their own language. For instance, the word aquati could also be express in various Nigerian languages with some variations: Epeti (Agbede), Apoti (Ibra)… The phonological symbols aquati postulate the way early Europeans, before standard Hausa writing emerged, would have spell the Hausa word for akwati (Hayha, 1988:74).
One of the first things that come to mind, when one sees aquati, is the notion of some important materials or documents. Aquati, therefore, signify treasure. This is also clear from the context of marriage proposal. Whenever, aquati is seen, there is treasure. The Holy Quran also describes aquati as great material and spiritual treasure a person or people could ever obtain (2:249 and 20:40). The Promised Messiah (as) said:
Our treasure lies in our God. Our highest delight is in our God for we have seen Him and have found every beauty in Him. This treasure is worth procuring though one might have to lay down one’s life to procure it. This ruby is worth purchasing though one may have to lose oneself to acquire it.
Unfortunately, sometimes, people are deprived the realization of this great treasure as a result of so much concentration and energy spent in picking out their mistakes and shortcomings. People develop the habit of picking error consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes, to some people, it is a second habit. They are very fast in detecting shortcomings. For instance, one of the things that may come to your mind concerning the first letter is, you have detected an error. Detecting an error subconsciously may not be bad. But, when these shortcomings are spread with such evil tongue and malicious intent- that is bad. Gradually, the sense of insecurity and inferiority is kindled in the mind of the victim. Soon will such victim, unconsciously, becomes shackled and incapable in diverting his mind to doing other good deeds. The Satan has been aided against him.
A careful analysis of the term equity shows that, such victim could have been encouraged to grab a great aquati. Equity means fairness, according to reason and the law of God, in managing conflicting views. You are created to manifest the glory of God, both secularly and spiritually (51:57 and 2:202) Equity demands that you give each aspect of life due consideration, energy, time and regard. And so it should be in assessing someone’s actions and character. Equity demands that the virtues of such victim described above, no matter how little, are also giving due regard. If the principle of equity is applied, such a victim could be as Bilal was to Medinites.
The innocent Medinites were laughing at the Bilal’s grammatical expression, who being of African origin, missed the correct pronunciation of Arabic form of letter h. However, Bilal was busy building a house for himself in Paradise to the extent that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was shown his beautiful and lofty station in Paradise. Once, after the Miraj, the Holy Prophet (saw) said to Bilal, I have seen you ahead of me in Paradise and I could hear your footsteps wherever I went during the Miraj, what great virtue do you possess, Bilal?
He replied, “O messenger of Allah, I have no virtue except that throughout my life I have tried not to sin, and if ever I do any wrong, at once I performed ablution (wuzu) and say two Rak’at nawafil prayer, and implore God for His forgiveness and mercy. And I always try to retain my wuzu (ablution). Whenever the state of ablution lapses I immediately regain it by performing Wuzu, and I offer two Raka’at Prayers. Then I turn my attention towards Allah and believe with heart and soul that all actions and deeds are implemented with the support of divine help and guidance. O Prophet of Allah, I do not possess anything besides this. This is Bilal, the great Mu’azzin the world ever had. While he was mocked at for inability to pronounce certain letter correctly, our Master, Muhammad was personally encouraging him to become one of the best. How great will it be for all to emulate this!
I am not saying one should not seek perfection in a certain field or deliberately overlook some certain words or deeds because they are deem insignificant. That not overlooking something as little as a dot to be insignificant is a fact well known to anyone who studies and understands language. In addition, the Holy Quran warns us against looking down on any act – sinful or vitreous – as insignificant.
And whoso does an atom’s weight of evil will also see it (99:9)
Sometimes, a person deprives himself the attainment of this great treasure and numerous sawab (blessings) because of so much concentrated passion and energy devoted to achieving excellence in a single field. A true believer does not allow himself to be caged by the passion to excel and attain perfection in a single field. As a humble servant of Allah, no doubt he struggles to perfect himself; he is also in jihad to win Allah’s rahma (mercy), and magfira (forgiveness) from different perspective. He partakes in every form of good deed. Yes. Indeed, everything good. No matter how little or insignificant it is. His mind is motivated by the promise of ajar (reward) accrued from implementing the teaching of this verse:
Then whoso does an atom’s weight of good will see it (99:8)
The Holy Prophet perfectly explained the great ajar of some deeds that are considered minor:
Adiyy ibn Hatim relates that he heard the Holy Prophet (saw) said: Shield yourselves against the Fire even if it be by giving away half a date in Charity (Riyadus-Salihin: Hadith 139)
Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: Whoever walks to the mosque in the morning or the evening, Allah prepares an entertainment for him in Paradise every time he so walks (Riyadus-Salihin: Hadith 123)
Abu Malik Ash’ari relates that the Holy Prophet (saw) said: Cleanliness is half of faith; the utterance of: All praises belong to Allah; fills the scales of good works; the utterance of: Holy is Allah and worthy of all praise; fills the space between the heavens and the earth; Prayer is light; charity is proof of faith; steadfastness is a glow and the Quran is a plea in your favor or against you. Everyone begins the morning ready to bargain with his soul as a stake and ransoms it or ruins it (Riyadus-Salihin: Hadith 25)
These Ahadith explain the great virtue of what are considered easy actions or deeds. A believer does not look down on any act as insignificant. However, a great believer equitably utilizes his time and God’s giving ability and energy to partake in all major and highest form of deeds. His target is the greatest treasure of all. The Prophet of Allah (saw) said, “Whoso believes in Allah and in His prophet and establishes prayer and observes fast in Ramadan, Allah promises to admit him into Paradise whether he fight for his cause or sits in the garden house where he was born. They (the companions) said: “Should we then communicate this pleasant tidings to the people, O Prophet of Allah?” the Prophet answered thus: there are a hundred grades in Paradise, prepared by for those who fight in the path of Allah and, in between each, is as great a distance as is between earth and heaven. So when you beg of Allah, beg of Him the Firdaus: for, it is the most central Paradise and the highest one and aloft of it is the celestial seat of the Gracious God and therefrom spring the streams of Paradise.”
In fact, an average believer is an eel in the “community of the world.” It is said that once animals organized a school to meet the problems of a “new world.” The curriculum consisted of running, climbing, swimming and flying. All the subjects are mandatory. The students included duck, rabbit, squirrel, eagle, eel and the pairie dog. At the end of the year, all the students, except the abnormal eel, could not perform one subject or the other which in turn affected their performance and score in the subject they claim to know best. The pairie dogs were the worst as they disobey the teacher because the school was not run according to their liking. They stayed out of the school, trained their children and claim to start a successful private school. Only the abnormal eel that could swim exceeding well and also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was the valedictorian.
The description of a true believer given in the Holy Quran is someone with a balance perspective of life. Indeed, true believers are men who know that the life of this world is only a sport and a pastime and an adornment, and a source of boasting, and of rivalry in multiplying riches and children (57:21). Hence, they neither allow merchandise nor traffic diverts them from the remembrance of Allah and the observance of Prayer, and the giving of the Zakat (24:38). However, they are not also cut off from the world and its provision, thereby adopting extreme means to please Allah (57:28) knowing the fact that, Allah has not forbidden the beautiful things of this world, in fact they are all created for them (7:33) therefore they seek to balance the pursuit of both the world and seek Allah’s help and mercy saying: Our Lord, grant us good in this world as well as good in the world to come, and save us from the torment of the fire (2:202).
Nothing occupies the mind of a true believer except the hope, like Hazrat Abu Bakr, to be granted the chance to enter paradise from any gate he so desires. One day, the Holy Prophet said: He who spends a pair of anything in the cause of Allah would be called from the gate of Paradise: servant of Allah, this gate is better for thee. Thus, he who is constant in prayer will be called from the gate of prayer; and he who is eager in striving in the cause of Allah will be called from the gate of striving; and he who is regular in fasting will be called from Rayyan; and he who is munificent in charity will be called from the gate of charity. Abu Bakr said: May my father and mother be thy sacrifice, Messenger of Allah, those who are called from these gates shall want for nothing, but will anyone be called from all these gates? He answered: Yes, and I am hoping you will be one of them (Riyadus-Salihin: Hadith 1221)
A true believer does not see the above hadith and active participation of Hazrat Abu-Bakr (as) as a thing of the past. He does not consider it as something impossible with the people of this age. He has such similitude in the case of Mauvil Nuruddeen and Zarfullah Khan and many others who rose to the top of their carrier and yet rendered great services to the world of Islam. If you still think this happen in an age where modern distraction is not at its peak, then you still did not understand the teaching of Holy Quran that Islam is a living religion and that each age is unique and great in its own way.
Dr L. D. Busari rose to the top in his office, yet it is as if his time is only for the religious and spiritual activities. He is not only regular in the mosque, he arrives before the commencement of the programme and actively participate except as Allah decree. You will find his name in different chanda chart and contributions. His slogan in this is: register your name in all the papers of good deeds, however little, for you know not which will be accepted. You will meet him active in physical activities and labour. He often says: my favorite waqaramal is washing the toilet. His tawaf (circumabulation) and sa’i (jogging) is between his house, his office and mosque. This is to say but little. There are many such examples in your community.
Look close into your Jama’a, you will find such people. I am inclined to give the above example for the sake of illustration in following the example of the Promised Messiah (as) and to serve as sign of his truthfulness and indeed that of his Great Master, Muhammad (saw). It is not for seeking praise or admiration for the person. On the contrary, I pray for Allah’s protection for the person and I seek from you such prayer in following the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (saw) who commands us to pray for a person whenever we narrate his virtue. There are many of such people in every Jama’a. Are you among them!!!
A believer, like Hazrat Abu Bakr, seeks the key to great treasure by striving in different form. A true Ahmadi, in following the footstep of Abu Bakr, hopes his name to be called from the gate of those who pay Chanda A’am, Tahrikh Jadid, Waqf-Jadid, scholarship, widow…… He will be called from among those who regularly visit the mosque and partake religiously in all the Jama’at physical and spiritual activities. On a personal level, he will be called from among those who recite Quran regularly, observe voluntary fasting, and do charitable deeds. From the secular perspective, he will be called from among those who carried out their office work and duty meticulously and judiciously.
Nobody gets the true aquati except him who understand the term equity in relation to his activities and has equitable utilization of his time and energy for personal, moral and spiritual development. One must devote equal time to acquire this aquati. On the safer side, as no one could maintain perfect balance of both secular and spiritual life, a little bit more time and preference to spiritual aspect of life is preferred. It is indeed greatly unfortunate for that brother in tertiary institution or that worker who does not actively participate in the Jama’a’s activities. We should indeed have pity for that one who is discovered to be our brother because he needed us for aqeeqa or nikah or for his personal gain. My heart grieves for that brother who boasts of living close to or in the mosque but his stay makes no difference. We should weep for such a brother who spent years observing Salat, yet does not know the basic requirement of Salat in spite of numerous arranged programs to learn from. We must feel sorry for that brother, who is of age, yet does not know how to recite the Holy Quran. There is no greater loser than he who claims to be regular in the mosque’s activities but could not represent his muqami in any of the educational or athletic activities. He indeed is a great loser who does not seek to have the aquati because he does not maintain the principle of equity. Allah states his conditions in the following verse:
And of men there are some who say. ‘Our Lord grant us good thing in this world, and such a one shall have no share in the hereafter. (2:201)
Likewise, he is indeed a disgrace who hides under the shade of the mosque but remains lazy and deliberately refuses to learn some certain skills or to engage in certain trade to care for oneself. Such a person, if his condition does not change, will die with regret in his heart. He will not be called from among those making various contributions. His way of seeking perfect treasure is imperfect. How would such one hope to acquire great aquati?
My brother, shed the skin of laziness, excuses, arrogance, or whatever is caging and depriving you from having this aquati. Be of this world as well as of the next. Each brother should reach a level where he can represent his muqami averagely like an eel. We should attain a level where everyone’s name could be called from different papers and event. Restructure your activities and let there be equity in the way you use your time and in your personal and family development.
Help your brother to grow and acquire this aquati. Do not continue to aid Satan against him. Let him realize you are a man of honor. Equity demands you give as much time in noticing and pronouncing his virtue as you did his shortcomings. Justice and good conscience require that you should keep his shortcoming hidden much more than you want yours to be hidden.
Qa’eedeen and other office holders should make a difference in their offices. They should see to it that every office holder is active and religiously involve all the members. They should see to it that all members under their guidance are active. This is equity. It is not equity to concentrate and focus energy and time in one office. It is not equity to continue to relate with only active members. It is not equity to refuse to participate practically in jama’a activities because you are office holder. It is not equity to ignore one section of the jama’a because there are far away from you. Every member should realize that there is Aquati under equity, but only the great one will have it.
By: Abul Nuraini Is’haq ibn Habeebullah Al-Agbedewiyyun