What do you think about these words of the Psalmist?
This reflection was written in response to Tziporah's original post in September 2011. You may also want to read Grace's response.
“Verily, God orders justice and kindness (Ihsan), and giving [help] to the relatives, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and evil and tyranny. He admonishes you, so that perhaps you may take heed.”
This Quranic verse is used to close the sermon each Friday in almost every Mosque around the world; it is a command that serves as guidance in daily affairs. Unfortunately, the words sometimes lose their meaning in translation, especially the word Ihsan, which is often translated as “kindness.” In a Hadith, the Prophet [Peace and Blessings be upon him] defines Ihsan as “to worship God as if you are seeing Him, and although you do not see Him, He sees you.” Ihsan is the force that helps Muslims strive for excellence in character and moral values, and this verse is a reminder that God looks into our minds and hearts every second of the day. It leads to my “God consciousness” in thoughts, words and actions, and helps me remember that truthfulness in action is only achieved when an awareness of God permeates all of my senses.
 Riyad-us-Saliheen by Imam an-Nawawi, Hadith 60
This reflection was originally posted in September 2011. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
A man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life? The man then recited the Ten Commandments and commented that he had kept them from the time of his youth. Jesus replied, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” The man was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
(The Gospel of Mark 10:17-22)
As a Muslim, I believe that the path to eternal life is belief in God and living righteously. The means for staying upright and walking on this path are interdependent, and building one’s life on them can be described as servitude to God and His creation. They include belief in God, His messengers, the Scriptures and the Day of Judgment; ritual practice; and Ihsan, high moral character, which is reflected by doing acts of kindness. The messengers and prophets exemplify righteous living, and people who follow their example in life will be closest to them in the hereafter. It is for this reason that Jesus [Peace and Blessings be upon him] invited the man to an even higher place in heaven, where he would find treasure and companionship with the most upright beings. The prophet Muhammad [Peace and Blessings be upon him] said: “A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good he does in this world to his fellow man.” As a Muslim, I believe in all the prophets, whose lessons were given in different times and contexts but share a common thread: love and servitude to God, and dependence on Him alone.
This is the second of three reflections on Eternal Life, originally posted in October 2011. During the summer, we will rerun several conversations that didn't receive much attention (according to Google Analytics) when we first launched the blog. Please tell us what you think in the comments section!