By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
(Reviewed by Nigar Ataulla)
My first impression of this book, as soon I saw it, was its very pretty cover design—all flowery and cheerful—and also the size of the book—very easy to handle and read!
I think that a book, especially a spiritual one, must not only touch the chords of the mind of the reader but also of the heart. Not only should it enrich the reader intellectually, but also spiritually. And this book does just that!
In a chapter titled Realization of God, the book quotes these words from the Quran: “Those who believe love God most” (2:165). The author explains that the believers referred to in this verse are those who have discovered God at the level of realization. I understand this to mean that God is the principal concern for such people. God is the primary focus of their feelings and emotions. This is the sole way to be relieved of anxiety and agony generated by negativity, both within oneself and in the world outside.
Focus on God comes through His constant remembrance, including by thanking Him and praising Him. The author has very rightly stated in the chapter “Making God One’s Supreme Concern” that it is only love of God which can give human beings peace of mind in the real sense.
While I was in the midst of reading this book, the weather outside had become rather dull, with spells of rain off and on. The sun had not shown its bright, shining face perhaps for a couple of days. So, there was a bit of gloominess in my heart and mind. I took up this book and sat right in front of the window from where I could see the drizzle and grey outside. It gave me solace to read in the book about the bounties of Nature that God has provided us with. I realized that there was no need to feel gloomy if it was rainy or cloudy. It is all planned by God.
Gratitude to God is something that we often forget when we get overwhelmed by people or things around us. Just the other day, I was blessed to have got a good project to work on, and for some time, the notion of ‘achieving’ something filled my heart. But I should understand that all such things happen by God’s grace, just as the author says:
In the present world, whatever man has received, whether great or small has been received from God as a unilateral reward without there having been any contribution from us. The more one thinks of the state of oneself as well as that of the external world, the more one will discover the blessings of God.
A few months ago, I watched some serials on Youtube, and a common theme of most of them was relationships of different sorts, with people undergoing immense suffering because of emotional attachments. After I got detached from these drama serials, it was delightful to read something really valuable that Maulana says in this book:
When you develop a strong attachment for anyone, that is love. In this respect God alone deserves to be loved by His servants. Love in relation to God, is another name for acknowledgement of God’s blessings. Therefore without doubt, God alone deserves this kind of love from Man. There are two kinds of love — real and relative. For various reasons, in the life of this world, an individual may develop love for another creature, even sometimes for an animal, or even any inanimate object such as his home. But no love of this kind exists after death. All of a sudden, man is cut off from all such relationships, For all such feelings are relative, produced on the basis of temporary reasons. And the moment the reasons are no longer there, they vanish instantly. On the contrary, the love of God is real love — feelings produced for real reasons and when these feelings are engendered in man, they are everlasting. Death cannot put an end to them.
I found the most touching chapter in the book to be the one titled ‘In The Company of God.’ Really, how often do we have intimate conversations with God? “Such moments when the believer must be whispering with his Lord should be a part of his life”, the author rightly writes. It helped me reflect that one should speak with God not just while sitting on the prayer-mat five times a day but, in fact, all day through, accepting God as our constant companion in whatever we do. This brings immense peace in the heart and mind.
This little book is a delightful spiritual treat, packed with wisdom, written in a style that was unique to the late Maulana Wahiduddin Khan. It does not matter if the weather is rainy and cloudy, do pick up this book, as it will bring rays of hope and sunshine into your life and help you refocus your heart towards God.